Tributes have flooded in for Irish footballer Ryan McBride, who has died suddenly at the age of 27.
McBride was a defender and captain of League of Ireland side Derry City FC, his hometown club and for whom he had made over 100 appearances.
He was found dead at his home close to the club’s Brandywell Stadium on Sunday. The cause of death is as yet unknown.
The club has released a statement on its Facebook page mourning the “saddening” loss of its “great captain.”
“Derry City Football Club is deeply saddened by the untimely death of our captain, Ryan McBride. Our prayers and thoughts are with his father, Lexie, his sisters Colleen, Siuinin and Caitlain, and his partner Mairead who are heartbroken at his loss,” the statement read.
“We are also conscious of his teammates and our management and support staff. Ryan was a player and a great captain but he was also their friend and teammate. They are deeply shocked and will miss his inspiration and his leadership.
“Our supporters are also shocked and saddened. To them, Ryan was Derry City through and through. The commitment and passion he brought on to the field is the bond that binds player and supporter.
Our deepest sympathies to all @derrycityfc on the sudden passing of Ryan McBride. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP
— Cork City FC (@CorkCityFC) March 19, 2017
“In the hearts and minds of all of us and long into the future Ryan McBride will be remembered as one of the greats of Derry City Football Club.
“We are also conscious that this is the anniversary of the death of the members of the McGrotty and Daniels family in Buncrana and it is only a short time since we remembered Mark Farren’s death.
“It is at times like this that we are reminded that our Club is also a community of people. As in the past, that community will come together to comfort and support Ryan’s family.
“In the coming days and weeks we will grieve the loss of our captain and our friend. Sometime in the future, when we have got past the initial shock and have had the proper space to grieve his loss, we will find a way to celebrate his life.
“We will remember his civility and humility off the field, his commitment and passion on it and the deep love he carried in his heart for Derry City Football Club.”
The statement ended with the words “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam”, Irish for May his soul be on the right side of God.
Derry City’s league game on Tuesday against Limerick will be rescheduled as a mark of respect, the Football Association of Ireland confirmed.
McBride was once dubbed ‘the toughest man in football’ after he unusually tackled two Cork City players simultaneously, winning the ball and leaving the pair writhing on the floor.
“I thought I won the ball,” McBride said in the post-match interview when asked about the challenge.