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Rio Ferdinand praised on Twitter following 'heartbreaking' documentary

Gemma Strong

Fans took to Twitter in their droves on Tuesday to praise Rio Ferdinand's moving documentary, Being Mum and Dad, after it aired on BBC One. The 38-year-old was seen exploring ways of coping with his grief following the death of his wife Rebecca Ellison, who passed away from breast cancer in May 2015 aged just 34. And viewers were left heartbroken as they watched Rio document his difficult journey, which included speaking to other widowers and professionals about coping with the loss of a partner, for both himself and the couple's three children, Lorenz, ten, Tate, eight and five-year-old Tia.

"This is a truly honest and touching portrayal of effects of grief. Massive amount of respect to @rioferdy5 & others involved #BeingMumAndDad," one wrote. Another added: "In many ways, Rio will have more impact with this than any kick on a football field." A third said: "Big respect for Rio letting people see this insight into his life. Very brave." A number of celebrities also tuned in to watch the show.

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Rio Ferdinand has been praised by fans for his candid documentary, Being Mum and Dad

Russell Brand tweeted: "@rioferdy5 what a beautiful film. A tribute to the power of honest communication. Well done mate." Gabby Logan added: "Such a raw, honest and loving documentary #BeingMumAndDad well done @rioferdy5 you gave yourself to that." Comedian John Bishop said: "Total respect to @rioferdy5 for his documentary tonight on BBC1. Moving and informative and something that will help others I am sure."

STORY: Rio Ferdinand says late wife Rebecca wouldn't recognise him now

During the documentary, Rio said that his coping mechanism had been to throw himself into his work over the past few years in order to keep his mind of Rebecca. "I don't ever sit and dwell – and being busy helps that. I've been preparing for the day I retire for five or six years, so I had things in place I could walk into – my restaurant, foundation and TV work," he said. "None of us knew it would coincide with what happened to Rebecca. But it did so I didn't need to think too much."

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Rio's wife Rebecca Ellison passed away in May 2015 from breast cancer

The former footballer also admitted that the days surrounding Rebecca's death have become "a bit of a blur". He explained: "If anyone asks me now, I can't explain what happened. The last time she was at home she tried to talk about it, but I just blocked it out. I just said, 'Why are you talking like that? You're going to be alright.' I'd close up." Rio's mother Janice also appeared on the show, and said of her son: "Being 100mph is the only way he gets through. He can't just stop because that's when he has to think about his loss and his children's loss.

STORY: Rio Ferdinand reveals how he spent first days after wife Rebecca died