Top Italian football captain Davide Astori dies unexpectedly

Fiorentina captain Davide Astori has died aged 31 before the club's Serie A match away to Udinese

Former Roma manager Rudi Garcia tweeted: "The news of the untimely death of my former player Davide Astori pains me".

Fiorentina's match against Udinese has been called off along with all of Sunday's other matches, including the derby between AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Chelsea boss said: "This is a tragedy, this news really hit at me". "This news really hurt me and it's very hard in this moment to find the right words for the family". It is very hard in this moment to speak about this tragedy.

Former Cagliari team-mate Radja Nainggolan said on Instagram: "A great player, but even more than that, a great person".

'I stay very close to his family in this moment because I repeat, he was only 31, it's very hard to explain this situation - his wife, the parents, their daughter'. It is very hard to explain this situation, his wife, the parents, the daughter'.

Astori joined Fiorentina in 2016.

The teams were already on the pitch and warming up for the lunchtime match between Genoa and Cagliari when news broke of Astori's death.

All Serie A matches were subsequently called off in the wake of Astori's death, which has been said to have stemmed from a heart attack in his sleep.

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Fiorentina captain and defender Davide Astori died of a sudden illness on Sunday morning at the age of 31, the Serie A club said, leaving Italian football in a state of shock.

The magistrate added that it was "strange that such a thing happened without any warning symptoms in a profession which is so closely monitored".

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

Mr Astori was in his 10th Serie A season and made 14 appearances for Italy between 2012 and 2017, and was on the team for the Confederations Cup in 2013, where Italy finished third. 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.

Astori scored his only worldwide goal in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup third-place play-off against Uruguay in Salvador, giving Italy a first-half lead in a match which finished 2-2.

Italian soccer has more stringent rules and tests than many other countries, with professional athletes in Italy required to undergo certain checks every six months.

A message posted from AC Milan's page read: "A man who loved football and who grew up as footballer with us".

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