Football star, David Astori dies in his sleep aged 31
FIORENTINA captain and Italy international Davide Astori has died suddenly in his sleep aged 31.
A club statement read: "A profoundly shocked Fiorentina are compelled to announce that their captain Davide Astori, who was struck by an unexpected sudden illness, has passed away.
"For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media."
Dad-of-one Astori passed away ahead of his side's Serie A game against Udinese. All seven of today's fixtures in the Italian top flight have been postponed as a mark of respect.
Reports claimed his team-mates broke down his hotel room door when he failed to show for breakfast or answer his phone.
The centre-back had 14 caps for his country after making his debut in 2011 and had enjoyed a professional career spanning 12 years, which also took in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Some reports suggested he had suffered a heart attack. Udine Today claimed the player failed to wake up at the La di Moret hotel this morning.
Genoa and Cagliari players were visibly shaken and reportedly in tears upon learning the news during their warm-up for the now postponed early kick-off.
Astori made 174 appearances for Cagliari over the course of eight years, which included loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina.
He started his career at AC Milan in 2006 but did not make a Serie A appearance for the club during his two years there, which also saw him shipped out to Pizzighettone and Cremonese on loan.
Astori joined Fiorentina in 2016.
He leaves behind long-term girlfriend Francesca Fioretti and their two-year-old daughter Vittoria.
His former club Roma tweeted: "The club is devastated to learn of the death of Davide Astori. The thoughts of everyone at AS Roma are with the player's family, friends and team-mates at this terrible and tragic time."
A tweet from Juventus' official account read: "On this day of tragedy, Juventus expresses its deepest condolences to Davide Astori's family and Fiorentina."
Udinese posted from their Twitter: "Udinese Calcio is deeply affected by the tragic and sudden death of AFC Fiorentina's captain Davide Astori.
"We gather around the family, friends, teammates and AFC Fiorentina right now, to all of them our deepest condolences."
A message posted from AC Milan's page read: "A man who loved football and who grew up as footballer with us. AC Milan are shocked by the passing of Davide Astori.
"It is with great sadness that we offer our deepest condolences to his family and close ones and to ACF Fiorentina."
Serie A's official account tweeted: "Shocked by the tragic news, the whole family of the league Serie A huddles around the family of Davide Astori and Fiorentina.
"All the games scheduled today are postponed as a sign of mourning.