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Rio Ferdinand discusses life as a single father after wife Rebecca's death: 'I've not given myself time to grieve'

Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
7 February 2017
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Rio Ferdinand will give fans a candid insight into his life as a single parent after the death of his wife Rebecca. In a new BBC documentary, entitled Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, the former footballer will open up about losing his partner and the mother of his three children to breast cancer at the age of just 34, in 2015. "I don't think I've grieved properly," the ex-England captain and Manchester United player reveals. "I've not given myself that time to sit down and really flush everything out."

The one-off programme will follow Rio, 38, on an intensely personal journey as he explores how bereaved parents attempt to come to terms with loss and mould new lives for themselves and their children. Alison Kirkham, Controller of Factual Commissioning and Events, has said: "Rio Ferdinand has courageously allowed the cameras to follow him in this revealing and immensely personal documentary exploring the complexities of grief. This candid film will offer BBC One audiences an intimate exploration of the ways in which men similarly bereaved cope with their loss."

rio 2a© Photo: PA

Rio Ferdinand lost his wife Rebecca to breast cancer in 2015

It's coming up to two years since Rio's wife Rebecca, with whom he had sons Lorenz, Tate and daughter Tia, passed away following a short battle with cancer. At the time, the football star said in a statement: "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.

Rio pays tribute to late wife Rebecca as he retires from football

rio© Photo: BBC

Rio will discuss life as a single father after his wife's death in a new BBC documentary

"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."

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Rebecca, a former fitness trainer and accountant, met Rio in the late 1990s before they married in the Caribbean in 2009. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and after getting the all-clear, a scan nearly a year later revealed the disease had returned and spread to her bones. The mother-of-three died just five weeks later on May 1. Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad will be shown on BBC One this spring.

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