Former England defender Rio Ferdinand said this morning that his 'soulmate slipped away last night' announcing the death of his wife Rebecca.
The 34-year-old mother of three died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London following a short battle with cancer.
The QPR defender released a statement today on the club's official website.
He said: '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.'
A spokesman for QPR said the thoughts of everyone at the club are with Rio at this 'immensely difficult time'.
Rebecca is the mother of the couple's three children, Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and four-year-old Tia.
The couple were married in the summer of 2009.
His club, Queens Park Rangers will wear black armbands this afternoon as they take on Liverpool in their crunch relegation battle at Anfield.
A club spokesman said: 'The thoughts of everyone at Queens Park Rangers Football Club are with Rio and his family at this immensely difficult time.'
Former England captain and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker led the tributes saying 'thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family. How dreadfully sad'.
Former England cricketer Michael Vaughan posted: 'Incredibly sad news...Thinking of you @rioferdy5 and your young family.'
My soul mate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully
While TV presenter Eamonn Holmes wrote: 'Such sad news to wake up to ..The Death of @rioferdy5 's wife Rebecca after a short fight with Cancer. Condolences.'
Ferdinand's former club Manchester United, where he made his name and played for more than a decade, said: 'Everybody's thoughts at Manchester United are with Rio Ferdinand today, whose wife sadly passed away last night.'
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel wrote: 'Really sad news that Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Rio Ferdinand has past away. My condolences to Rio, their their children and the family. RIP'
Arsenal football club posted: 'Very sad news about Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca, who has sadly lost her battle with cancer. Rest in peace.'
Wayne Rooney's wife, Coleen announced her shock about Mrs Ferdinand's death: 'Can't believe I am actually writing this, absolutely devastated to hear the news about Rebecca. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rio, their three beautiful children and family at this sad time.
'I have such happy memories of a devoted and loving mum. Rest in peace Rebecca.'