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Rio Ferdinand's Wife Rebecca Dies at Age 34 After Battle with Breast Cancer

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2015

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand arrives with his wife Rebecca Ellison at the team's Player of the Year Awards dinner at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Wednesday May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Queens Park Rangers defender Rio Ferdinand, has died of breast cancer. The news of the 34-year-old's passing was announced on Saturday, per BBC News

Former Manchester United and England centre-back Ferdinand issued a statement via the QPR website in which he paid tribute to Ms Ellison:

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. 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.

The pair married in 2009 while Ferdinand, now 36, was still plying his trade at Old Trafford for the Red Devils.

Many of those connected with the Manchester outfit sent out messages of support and condolence, including current captain Wayne Rooney, Rooney's wife Coleen and goalkeeper David De Gea:

During United's match against West Brom, fans stood and applauded for Ferdinand's wife, with the club sharing images of the tribute:

Ferdinand's former club, West Ham United, also tweeted a message of support:

QPR midfielder Leroy Fer also shared a message of support after scoring in the club's match vs. Liverpool:

QPR players also wore black armbands in the match in commemoration of Ms Ellison. 

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