Messages of support for Rio Ferdinand after wife's death

Rio Ferdinand married Rebecca Ellison in 2009
Rio Ferdinand married Rebecca Ellison in 2009

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has received messages of support from throughout football after the death of his wife from cancer.

Rebecca Ellison, who married the QPR defender in 2009, died on Friday.

Both sets of players wore black armbands during QPR's Premier League match at Liverpool on Saturday.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard presented Rangers midfielder Joey Barton with a bouquet of flowers to give to Ferdinand.

Club captain Barton had earlier posted on Twitter: "Just heard the terrible news. My heart goes out to Rio Ferdinand and his family. RIP Rebecca."

Midfielder Karl Henry added: "Devastated to hear the sad news of Rio's wife passing. All of our thoughts are with him and his family."

QPR forward Leroy Fer revealed a message of support for Ferdinand after scoring at Anfield
QPR forward Leroy Fer revealed a message of support for Ferdinand after scoring at Anfield

QPR forward Leroy Fer, who scored as his side lost 2-1, revealed an undershirt bearing the message "Stay strong family Ferdinand" after his goal.

At the 36-year-old's former club Manchester United, supporters held a minute's applause in the fifth minute of their home match against West Brom, to signify the centre-back squad number during his time at Old Trafford.

Ellison, who was 34, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The couple had three children together - Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and four-year-old Tia.

QPR manager Chris Ramsey described Ferdinand as a "man mountain".

"Everyone will tell you, as a man, he has been absolutely fantastic," Ramsey said.

Manchester United fans paid tribute with a minute's applause in the fifth minute
Manchester United fans paid tribute with a minute's applause in the fifth minute

"He has come in and trained, kept it to himself, not been moping or had the world on his shoulders. He's talked to the young players, he has been a man-mountain.

"We only have good things to say about him and the way he has conducted himself.

"Our thoughts are with him and his family and we hope they can pull together and find strength at this tragic moment."

Footballers past and present - including Ferdinand's former United and England team-mates Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Michael Owen - have offered their condolences on Twitter.

Joey Barton and Raheem Sterling
The players of Liverpool and QPR wore black armbands during their game at Anfield on Saturday

Rooney wrote: "Devastated to hear about Rebecca. My prayers are with Rio and his family at this sad time."

Owen posted: "Stunned to hear about Rio Ferdinand's wife. Thoughts with him and his family."

Smalling added: "Incredibly sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with Ferdinand and his young family."

Ferdinand was part of the BBC's punditry team at last year's World Cup in Brazil.

BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who worked alongside Ferdinand at the tournament, tweeted: "Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family. How dreadfully sad."

The Football Association added: "The FA wishes to express its deepest condolences at the passing of Rebecca Ellison. Our thoughts are with Rio, their family and friends."

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