Fiorentina captain Davide Astori has died at the age of 31, just hours before he was due to lead his side out against Udinese.
Astori is reported to have died suddenly on Sunday morning in a Udine hotel, where La Viola were basing themselves ahead of Sunday’s Serie A match.
All of Sunday’s Serie A games have been postponed as a show of respect for the player.
A club statement read: “Fiorentina is deeply saddened to announce that our captain Davide Astori has passed away, after suffering a sudden illness.
“For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media.”
The central defender began his career with AC Milan, but after failing to break into the first team he moved to Cagliari in 2008 and made 174 appearances for the Italian side during a six-year spell.
Following loan stints with Roma and Fiorentina, Astori made his move to Florence permanent in 2016 – scoring three goals in 58 games.
Astori was capped for Italy 14 times, making his debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Ukraine in 2011.
A man who loved football and who grew up as footballer with us. #ACMilan are shocked by the passing of Davide #Astori. It is with great sadness that we offer our deepest condolences to his family and closed ones and to ACF Fiorentina
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 4, 2018
The club is devastated to learn of the death of Davide Astori. The thoughts of everyone at AS Roma are with the player’s family, friends and teammates at this terrible and tragic time. pic.twitter.com/vDlL4LIkJr
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) March 4, 2018
FC Internazionale Milano express immense sadness at the sudden passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. https://t.co/kcAxi5EH4y
— Inter (@Inter_en) March 4, 2018
— Franck Ribéry (@FranckRibery) March 4, 2018
Everybody at Chelsea Football Club is shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and team-mates at this time.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 4, 2018
RIP Davide Astori. Incredibly sad news 🙏
— Asmir Begovic (@asmir1) March 4, 2018