Rio Ferdinand said his final, heartbreaking goodbye to his wife Rebecca at a private funeral in Kent on Wednesday. The footballer was joined by family and friends, including a number of sports stars, for the ceremony, following 34-year-old Rebecca's tragic death earlier this month from breast cancer.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio's former Manchester United boss, as well as players including Robin Van Persie and Darren Fletcher were among those who showed their support for Rio at the service, according to the Sun.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE
Rio Ferdinand and his wife Rebecca, pictured in 2009
Rio Ferdinand and Rebecca met in 2000, and were married nine years later. They have three children together; Lorenz, nine, Tate, six and four-year-old daughter Tia. The heartbroken star announced the news that his wife had died after a short battle with cancer in a moving statement.
"My soul mate slipped away last night," the 36-year-old said. "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."
The star went on to thank the staff at the Royal Marsden for their "dedication and expertise". "Their valiant efforts to prolong Rebecca's all-too-short life will not be forgotten," he said, adding: "Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately."
Following Rebecca's passing, a number of people sent public messages of condolence to the Queen Park Rangers defender and his family – including his former teammate David Beckham. "Victoria & I are very sad to hear about the passing of Rebecca Ferdinand," David wrote on his Facebook page. "Our thoughts are with Rio, their children and Rebecca's family at this time."
Wayne Rooney also paid tribute to the mum-of-three. "Devastated to hear about Rebecca," he wrote on Twitter. "My prayers are with Rio and his family at this sad time."