Thousands Gather in Florence for Davide Astori Funeral

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

The coffin of Fiorentina's captain Davide Astori is carried inside Santa Croce basilica for the funeral on March 8, 2018 in Florence. Italian player Davide Astori likely died from a cardiac arrest linked to the slowing of his heart rate following the initial results of his autopsy. 
 Fiorentina and Astori's former club Cagliari announced they will retire his number 13 shirt in honour of the 31-year-old Italy international, who was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday ahead of a Serie A match at Udinese. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/Getty Images

Thousands of Fiorentina fans gathered in Florence on Thursday for the funeral of Davide Astori, the club's captain, who was found dead on Sunday ahead of a Serie A match against Udinese.

Per MailOnline's Jack Bezants, the 31-year-old's team-mates were in attendance at the service at the Santa Croce church as were the Juventus side, who flew back from London for the funeral after their 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League. 

The Old Lady players were warmly received by the Fiorentina faithful, per Italian football writer Adam Digby:

Bezants added some fans arrived to line the streets up to three hours before the start of the service, while thousands applauded and chanted as Astori's coffin was driven past Stadio Artemio Franchi, the home of Fiorentina.

The Florentine outfit and fellow Serie A side Cagliari, where Astori plied his trade between 2008 and 2016, have both retired the No. 13 shirt in honour of the centre-back:

Giorgio Chiellini paid an emotional tribute to Astori after Juve's defeat of Spurs, per BT Sport Football:

A 14-time Italy international, Fiorentina announced Astori's shocking death Sunday due to a "sudden illness." 

Sunday's Serie A fixtures were all subsequently postponed. He is survived by his partner, Francesca Fioretti, and their two-year-old daughter.  

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