Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Davide Astori, 31, Italian soccer player

Davide Astori black and white P1 image Top Italian footie star and club captain found dead
Domingo Copeland | 06 March, 2018, 02:46

AN emotional Antonio Conte paid tribute to "fantastic guy" Davide Astori following the tragic news of his death.

A club statement read: "A profoundly shocked Fiorentina are compelled to announce that their captain Davide Astori, who was struck by an unexpected sudden illness, has passed away".

Mr Astori was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday, hours before he was due to step into Dacia Arena to face Udinese. "It's very hard in this moment to find the right words for the family", Conte told Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea's match against Manchester City. "Congratulations really, you were one of the best sports figures I came across", the 40-year-old legendary goalkeeper posted on Facebook.

"The belief is that the player died of a cardiac arrest by natural causes", Udine prosecutor Antonio De Nicolo said in a ESPN report.

'I had him with the national team, i repeat it's very hard to speak in this moment about this tragedy. "He was a great player, especially a fantastic guy".

"I want to make an exception to my rule because you have a young wife and others close to you who are suffering, but mostly because your little girl deserves to know that her dad was a good man. a great man", Buffon wrote.

Astori's body has been taken to the Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital for an autopsy.

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During his time on the books of the Sardinian side, Astori had loan spells with Roma and Fiorentina, joining the latter permanently in 2016.

Astori made more than 250 appearances in Serie A and was capped 14 times by Italy. His debut in March 2011 in a 2-0 victory over Ukraine in Kiev was eventful - he was introduced as a first-half substitute before being sent off with 15 minutes remaining after receiving two yellow cards.

In 2013, his lone goal was in a 2013 Confederations Cup third-place match against Uruguay.

Serie A announced that all of Sunday's matches, including the derby between AC Milan and Inter Milan, would be postponed.

"For the bad and delicate situation, and above all for the respect of his family, appeal is made to everyone's sensibility", Fiorentina said.

Genoa and Cagliari players were visibly shaken and reportedly in tears upon learning the news during their warm-up for the now postponed early kick-off. I don't believe it and I cry with the family and everyone at Fiorentina. "Goodbye captain", said former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Dario Nardella, the current mayor of Florence, said the city would observe a day of mourning for the player's funeral.

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