There is shock, disbelief, and mourning in Italian football circles following the death of Davide Astori, Florentina captain and Italy international.
The 31-year-old centre-back had been capped 14 times by Italy and had enjoyed a professional career spanning 12 years.
It is understood that Astori and his team-mates were preparing to face Udinese in a Serie A fixture on Sunday before Fiorentina announced the tragic news ahead of the game, which has now been canceled.
“Fiorentina are profoundly shaken and forced to announce that their captain Davide Astori has died,” a statement posted on the club’s official website reads.
“For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media.”
Astori started out at AC Milan, where he never played a Serie A match, before moving to Cagliari, the club where he made his big breakthrough.
He turned out 174 times for the Sardinians in a six-year spell, during which he made his national team debut with the Azzurri.
Tributes have been pouring in for Astori as the likes of Manchester United and Roma among many others have paid their last respect in memory of the defender.