Rio Ferdinand's QPR manager Chris Ramsey: He kept wife Rebecca's terminal illness 'all to himself'
Queens Park Rangers manager Chris Ramsey paid tribute to the courage and dignity of Rio Ferdinand following the tragic death of the player’s wife from cancer.
Rebecca Ellison passed away aged just 34 after a short battle with the disease, with a statement released hours before Rangers’ trip to Anfield.
Ramsey said Ferdinand had urged his team mates to give their all on Merseyside, but there was an understandably sombre mood in the camp both before and after the fixture.
Both sides wore black armbands in a show of respect as the whole of football offered their condolences to the former England captain. At his former club, Manchester United, a minute’s applause was held on five minute – Ferdinand wore the number five jersey at Old Trafford.
“It does put things into perspective,” said Ramsey. “There is a very solemn atmosphere in the dressing room. Everyone at the club will tell you, as a man, he has been fantastic. He has come in and trained and kept it all to himself. He is not been moping and has talked to all the young players.
"He has been a man-mountain. We only have good things to say about him and the way he has conducted himself. Our thoughts are with him and his family and hope they can pull together and find strength at this tragic moment.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers extended his sympathies to Ferdinand and his family.
“Football was secondary today,” said Rodgers.
“Everything else was insignificant after I heard the news, so on behalf of Liverpool Football Club and Liverpool as a city we pass on our condolences.”
In a moving statement, Ferdinand, 36, described his wife as his “soul mate” who would “live on... as a guide and inspiration”. With it, Ferdinand also posted online a photograph of himself with his wife taken in happier times.
The couple, who married in 2009, have three children Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and four-year-old Tia.
“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. 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. 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.”