Rio Ferdinand has paid an emotional tribute to his mother, who lost her battle with cancer on Thursday.
Janice St Fort, 58, passed away just two years after Ferdinand lost his wife Rebecca to breast cancer, aged 34.
In a moving tribute posted to Twitter and Instagram, the former Manchester United and England captain said: “Mummy… It won’t ever be enough but I just want to say thanks, a really big thank you.
“The ability you had to make me feel loved at every moment in my life without even having to say it or be there by my side will never be forgotten.”
Ferdinand said his mother had been a “little fighter”, with a “huge heart”, and joked that the only negative thing he could think to say about her was that she talked too long on the phone.
Celebrities and fans, including grime star Stormzy, applauded the retired defender’s resilience as he shared his love, and recalled: “All I ever wanted in life from as young as I can remember was to make you proud and I know I must of got somewhere near to doing that…. because your chest was puffed out as big as anyone’s whenever my name was mentioned or when you was in a stadium watching me play.”
He concluded: “The way you have touched so many people’s hearts will live on and will be the way many will remember you mum.
“You were an inspirational person in so many ways, one day I will be able to tell you them all face to face.
“Love you mummy.”