Rio Ferdinand
Former England footballer Rio Ferdinand looks on during the FA Cup semi-final football match Getty

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has suffered another tragedy as his mother lost her cancer battle just two years after the death of his wife to the same disease. Back in 2015, Ferdinand's wife Rebecca Ellison had tragically died following her struggles with breast cancer.

Janice St Fort's untimely death comes as the former footballer seemed to be moving on with his life. Described as a "devoted mother" and "heart of our family", the Ferdinand family matriarch died, aged 58, at London Bridge Hospital on Thursday (13 July).

"We are heartbroken to announce that our amazing mum Janice passed away today after an ongoing battle with cancer," a statement from Rio and the family read.

"She was an inspiration to us all and was loved by everyone who knew her. She died at Guy's Cancer Unit, London Bridge Hospital, with her loving husband Peter and us, re, at her bedside."

"She was a devoted mother to us all, and she was the most incredible grandmother to our children. The whole family are devastated," it continued.

Adding that Janice was the support system for the whole family – she even appeared in the BBC documentary, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad – the statement reiterated how she supported her son through his difficult time.

"Her strength and courage, as well as her great sense of humour and immense kindness, were never-ending.

"We would like to thank all the staff at Guy's Cancer Unit for looking after our mum so well during her illness especially Marta and Joanna as well as everyone who has sent kind wishes to us all during this difficult time."

Earlier this year, the 38-year-old athlete, opened up about coping with the tragic loss of his wife in the tell-all documentary. From dealing with suicidal thoughts to the task of being a single parent to his three children, the flamboyant footballer had to undergo quite a change since Rebecca's death.

"I don't think I've grieved properly. I've not given myself that time to sit down and really flush everything out and go through it," he said about his loss adding, "I don't see myself taking off my wedding ring."