Rio Ferdinand's wife dies following cancer battle

The wife of former England international Rio Ferdinand has died after a short battle with cancer.

Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca has died at a hospital in London after a short battle with cancer.

The QPR defender confirmed news of his wife's passing at Royal Marsden Hospital in a statement on the club's official website on Saturday.

It read: "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."

QPR added: "The thoughts of everyone at Queens Park Rangers Football Club are with Rio and his family at this immensely difficult time."