The wife of former Manchester United and England captain
Rio Ferdinand has died from cancer.
The QPR defender, 36, released a statement saying his
"wonderful wife and soul mate" Rebecca Ellison had "passed
away peacefully" at a London hospital.
Ms Ellison, 34, who married Ferdinand in 2009, had breast
She leaves behind three children, Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and
In a statement, Ferdinand said she died on Friday night.
"Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after
a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in
London," the footballer said on QPR's website.
"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."
Ferdinand thanked the staff who treated his wife at the
south London hospital, adding: "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."
Messages of support have been posted on Twitter from the
world of football.
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel
wrote: "Really sad news that Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Rio
Ferdinand has passed away. My condolences to Rio, their
children and the family. RIP"
BBC presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker
tweeted: "Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family.
How dreadfully sad."
QPR's players will be wearing a black armband for the
match against Liverpool at Anfield later.
In a statement, the west London club said: "The thoughts of
everyone at Queens Park Rangers Football Club are with Rio
and his family at this immensely difficult time."
Ferdinand, who grew up in Peckham, south-east London,
was capped by England 81 times and has also played for
West Ham United and Leeds United.