Rio Ferdinand has suffered a double hammer blow with the sudden death of his adored wife Rebecca.
The QPR and former Manchester United and England star thought the mum-of-three had years left after being diagnosed with breast cancer. But the precious months he hoped they had, vanished when she died just five weeks later on May 1.
A source close to the family told how it came as an utter shock – especially after medics decided she was well enough for a visit home from London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.
Family and friends are worried about their three children, Lorenz, nine, Tate, six, and Tia, four, will come to terms with the shattering loss.
Originally from Essex, Rebecca met Rio while he was at West Ham in the late 90s. The couple wed in 2009.
A former fitness trainer, she kept a low profile. A reliable source said: “She was the most un-WAG like person ever, shunning showbiz bashes.”
Rio once said: “She isn’t interested in the flash life. She trained as an accountant and would never even go to a game if I wasn’t playing.”
Yet her funeral service in Sidcup on Wednesday, was bright, star-studded and attended by more than 200 people.
The source said: “Rio is very popular and everyone loved Rebecca. Alex Ferguson, Robin Van Persie, Wayne and Coleen Rooney were there, as was Frank Lampard’s girlfriend, Christine Bleakley.
Edwin Van Der Saar flew from Holland, Vidic from Milan. Fergie from America.
Black was banned, outfits were bright, which made it easier for the kids. Players were in their different colours. The only real flowers were in the hearse because Rebecca wanted money to go to the Royal Marsden instead.
The hospital has set up a page in her honour.