Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that his wife, Rebecca Ellison, has died after a short battle with cancer.
The footballer, a defender for Queen’s Park Rangers, said his “wonderful wife” passed away peacefully at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
In a statement, he added: “My soulmate slipped away last night. 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.
“Myself, my parents Janice and Julian, along with Rebecca’s parents Lesley and Stephen, would like to thank our families, friends and my club colleagues who have rallied around in these desperate days, weeks and months.
“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.”