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Rio Ferdinand on how his children are coping after losing mum and grandmother

The former England footballer lost both his mother and wife to cancer in the space of two years

Ainhoa Barcelona

Rio Ferdinand has opened up about how his three young children are coping with bereavement. The youngsters lost their mum Rebecca and their grandmother Janice to cancer in the space of two years, but during an appearance on BBC Breakfast, Rio said the children are doing "remarkably well".

The former England football player, 38, told hosts Louise Minchin and Dan Walker: "Considering the grief they've been through, the disasters in the family the last couple of years, not once but twice, they're doing remarkably well. Yesterday I went to football with them and watched the two boys play, the little girl, she's like in fairyland with princesses and horse-riding. I've said it many times, if they were in a room with 20 other kids, they wouldn't stand out as kids who have been through so much in their short lives. Testament to them, they're doing really well."

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"Considering the grief they've been through, they're doing remarkably well," said Rio

Rio's wife Rebecca sadly passed away aged 34 in May 2015 after a short battle with cancer. His mother Janice lost her battle with breast cancer in July of this year. Speaking about his children losing their grandmother, Rio said: "My mum lived not far from where we were and she became an integral part of their lives really, part of their school life, their hobbies after school, being around the house all the time and then for that to be gone and disappear as well – two consecutive tragedies in such a short space of time – is difficult. But they're doing well and they're having a good time. They're structured, they're very, very happy kids and they're enjoying life."

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Rio's mother Janice lost her battle with breast cancer in July

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Rio also spoke about his sons Lorenz, 11, Tate, nine, and his six-year-old daughter Tia following in his sporty footsteps. "I just want them to be disciplined, healthy, keep moving," he said. "But I want them to show dedication and a work ethic and if that involves sport then great. It'd be fantastic. A work ethic is vitally important for me."

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