ROME • Initial autopsy results have shown that former Italy international and Fiorentina captain Davide Astori likely died from a cardiac arrest linked to the slowing of his heart rate.
The 31-year-old, who won 14 caps for the Azzurri, was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday ahead of Fiorentina's Serie A match at Udinese.
Doctors who carried out the player's autopsy referred to a "cardiac arrest without a visible explanation, in all likelihood due to a bradyarrhythmia (slow heart rate)", Italian dailies Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport reported on Tuesday.
"We won't have the definitive diagnosis for two months (and then) we will be able to say with certainty that there was no detectable cause or any other element of any type," Udine prosecutor Antonio de Nicolo said.
De Nicolo was quoted on Sunday as saying Astori died of "natural causes" after a "cardiac circulatory collapse" - a type of heart attack, which the autopsy appears to confirm.
Fiorentina players and staff paid tribute to Astori on Tuesday at the club's Artemio Franchi stadium, where dozens of messages, banners and scarves adorned fences outside the ground.
Croat Milan Badelj, the team's vice-captain, left a white rose in memory of his former team-mate, and the players hung up two signed Astori jerseys as well as a large photo of the defender.
They then observed a minute's silence which concluded with a round of applause led by Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli, as the players returned to training just two days after the death.
Astori's body was yesterday taken to the Italian football association's national training centre in Coverciano, Florence, where people will be able to pay their last respects to him.
His funeral will be held at the Santa Croce Basilica today before his burial near Bergamo, in northern Italy, where Astori grew up and his parents still live.
Fiorentina are set to make an emotional return to action this weekend at home to bottom-side Benevento, and the team will wear shirts carrying the message "Ciao Davide" on their sleeves.