Fiorentina captain Davide Astori died of 'cardiac arrest' in hotel room
4 March 2018, 11:16
The captain of Italy's Fiorentina football team, Davide Astori, died of cardiac arrest by natural causes, a prosecutor has said.
The 31-year-old was found dead in a hotel room in Udine, where Fiorentina had been due to face Udinese later on Sunday.
His body was taken to hospital for a post-mortem examination.
Udine prosecutor Antonio De Nicolo said: "The belief is that the player died of a cardiac arrest by natural causes.
"It is strange that such a thing should happen to a professional who is so closely monitored without there being any warning signs."
In Italy, professional footballers are required to undergo certain health checks every six months.
Astori, who has a two-year-old daughter, had been capped 14 times by Italy and enjoyed a professional career spanning 12 years.
The centre-back started out at AC Milan, where he never played a Serie A match, before moving to Cagliari, the club where he made his big breakthrough.
He made 174 appearances for the Sardinians in a six-year spell, during which he made his national team debut.
In 2014, he was sent on loan to Roma and a year later made a similar transfer to Fiorentina.
Astori had established himself as a vital member of the squad and appeared 27 times for the side, ranked 10th in the Serie A standings this term.
In a statement published on its website, Fiorentina said: "Fiorentina are profoundly shaken and forced to announce that their captain Davide Astori has died.
"For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media."
AC Milan tweeted: "A man who loved football and who grew up as a footballer with us. AC Milan are shocked by the passing of Davide Astori.
"It is with greater sadness that we offer our deepest condolences to his family and close loved ones and the ACF Fiorentina."
Premier League football clubs have also paid tribute.
Chelsea FC tweeted: "Everybody at Chelsea Football Club is shocked at the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and team-mates at this time."
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who selected Astori during his reign as Italy coach, told Sky Sports: "This is a tragedy and it really hurts me.
"It's very difficult at this moment to find the right words for the family.
"I had him with the national team.
"He was a great player but especially a fantastic guy.
"I stay close to his wife, parents and daughter.
"He was only 31 and it's very difficult to explain this situation."
Liverpool FC posted: "We're saddened by the passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. Our condolences are with his friends and family. RIP Davide."
(c) Sky News 2018: Fiorentina captain Davide Astori died of 'cardiac arrest' in hotel room