Wife of ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand dies after short battle with cancer

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca has died after a short battle with cancer, the footballer said in a statement on Saturday. -- PHOTO: QPR.CO.UK
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca has died after a short battle with cancer, the footballer said in a statement on Saturday. -- PHOTO: QPR.CO.UK

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's wife has died after a short battle with cancer, the footballer said in a statement on Saturday.

In the statement, posted on the website of Ferdinand's current club Queens Park Rangers, the 36-year-old wrote: "My soul mate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

"She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration."

He also thanked friends and colleagues for rallying around him, his parents and his in-laws.

The statement finished: "I would also like to express my gratitude for the dedication and expertise of the staff led by Professors Johnstone and Clarke at the Royal Marsden. Their valiant efforts to prolong Rebecca's all-too-short life will not be forgotten.

"Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately."

Messages of condolences have begun to pour in from other members of the footballing fraternity.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and former England striker Gary Lineker were among those who tweeted their condolences.

dshea@sph.com.sg