Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca Ellison dies from cancer

Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca has died from cancer. "My soulmate slipped away last night," the QPR defender said in a statement.

“Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

“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.”

His club were among the first to offer their condolences to the player at this “immensely difficult time”.

Ferdinand’s full statement

“My soulmate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

“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.”

Everybody's thoughts at #mufc are with Rio Ferdinand today, whose wife sadly passed away last night. pic.twitter.com/OV8SKb6K75

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 2, 2015

Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family. How dreadfully sad.

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 2, 2015

More: Imagine the outcry if this was happening to cancer patients

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