Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca dies after short cancer battle

Rio Ferdinand's 'wonderful wife' Rebecca has died after a short battle with cancer. Credit: QPR

Queens Park Rangers defender Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca has died after a short battle with cancer.

In a statement released on the club's website, the former England captain said "my soul mate slipped away last night".

He also paid tribute to "a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children".

Ferdinand, 36, thanked his friends, family and hospital staff for their support over the past months.

"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.

"I would also like to express my gratitude for the dedication and expertise of the staff led by Professors Johnstone and Clarke at the Royal Marsden. Their valiant efforts to prolong Rebecca's all-too-short life will not be forgotten.

"Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately."

Queens Park Rangers said the club's thoughts are with Ferdinand and his family at "this immensely difficult time".

The team will wear black armbands for their match against Liverpool at Anfield today.