Rio Ferdinand and wife Rebecca Ellison

Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca has died following a short battle with cancer.

The QPR defender revealed in a statement released on the club’s website that his wife passed away aged 35 on Friday night in hospital.

‘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,” he said.

“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.”

QPR added: “The thoughts of everyone at Queens Park Rangers Football Club are with Rio and his family at this immensely difficult time.”

The couple were married in the summer of 2009 after Ferdinand had helped Manchester United win a third successive Premier League title and the club, where he won six league titles and the Champions League, were among those to pay their respects.

Players past and present were also among those to pass on their condolences to the 36-year-old defender.

“Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family. How dreadfully sad,” Gary Lineker tweeted, while Ferdinand’s former England team-mate Peter Crouch wrote: “Thoughts with @rioferdy5 and his family.”

Former Aston Villa and international striker Dion Dublin added: “My thoughts are with @rioferdy5 his children and his family……. RIP Becky.”

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam wrote: “Thoughts with @rioferdy5 and his family on such terrible news.”


Sky sports