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Grieving Ferdinand moved by support

RIO FERDINAND was "overwhelmed" by the support he received from football fans after his wife died.

The former England captain (36, below) said Rebecca Ellison's battle with cancer was "the most difficult period" for his family and paid tribute to her as "an incredibly brave woman".

A host of football's star names, including Alex Ferguson and former Manchester United team-mate Nemanja Vidic, turned out for 34-year-old Ms Ellison's funeral, the Queens Park Rangers star added.

"It has been the most difficult period of my life, what with managing the emotions of our three children and watching such a great woman as my wife Rebecca die without being able to do anything about it," he said.

"After Rebecca died, we held a service on a lovely sunny day which was arranged to perfection.

"She wanted it to be a celebration of life rather than a morbid occasion and it went just the way she'd have liked.

"The day it was announced that Rebecca had died, we were overwhelmed by messages of support," he said. "The kids saw it all and were telling me, 'Look Dad, have you seen what they are doing for Mum?' Those are good memories for them."

The couple married in August 2009 on Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands.

They have three children - Lorenz (9), Tate (6), and four-year-old Tia.