|Ellison Rebecca, 35, died after being diagnosed with breast cancer|
“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,” he said.
“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.
“Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately,” Ferdinand added.
The couple married in 2009 in a private ceremony in the Caribbean, and have three children together aged nine, six, and four.
A number of tributes were paid to the former England captain, who joined QPR at the start of the season after leaving Manchester United, with his team-mates, fellow professional footballers and fans all sending messages support at a difficult time.
The thoughts of everyone at @QPRFC are with @rioferdy5 and his family at this immensely difficult time— QPR FC (@QPRFC) May 2, 2015
.@QPRFC will wear black armbands today in the wake of the sad passing of @rioferdy5's wife, Rebecca pic.twitter.com/BargAD5Niq— QPR FC (@QPRFC) May 2, 2015
.@LFC's Steven Gerrard hands @Joey7Barton a bouquet of flowers after the sad passing of @rioferdy5's wife, Rebecca pic.twitter.com/8t7kNfmulS— QPR FC (@QPRFC) May 2, 2015
Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family. How dreadfully sad.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 2, 2015
Just heard the terrible news. My heart goes out to @rioferdy5 and his family. RIP Rebecca— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) May 2, 2015
@rioferdy5 so sorry about the news of your wife, my thoughts and wishes are with you and your family— jonas gutierrez (@elgalgojonas) May 2, 2015
Thoughts are with Rio Ferdinand and his family terrible news 😥— Shane Duffy (@ShaneDuffy34) May 2, 2015
Thoughts with @rioferdy5 and his family— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) May 2, 2015
My thoughts go out to Rio and all his family RIP Rebecca Ferdinand— Charlie Austin (@chazaustin9) May 2, 2015
Really sad news that Rebecca Ellison, the wife of Rio Ferdinand has past away. My condolences to Rio, their 3 children and the family. RIP— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) May 2, 2015
Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family @rioferdy5— Fraser Forster (@FraserForster) May 2, 2015
The thoughts of everyone at @Arsenal are with Rio Ferdinand and his family after his wife passed away last night pic.twitter.com/zLONDb6TpJ— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 2, 2015
Chelsea FC sends its condolences to Rio Ferdinand and his family after the passing of his wife Rebecca. May she rest in peace.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 2, 2015
Manchester City FC are saddened to hear about the loss of Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca and send condolences to his family at this sad time— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) May 2, 2015
Everybody's thoughts at #mufc are with Rio Ferdinand today, whose wife sadly passed away last night. pic.twitter.com/OV8SKb6K75— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 2, 2015