Former Rugby League star Ricky Bibey, 40, dies on holiday in Italy

Ricky Bibey in action for Wigan Warriors in 2002 Credit: PA Images

Former Rugby League player Ricky Bibey has died at the age of 40.

He had played for Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions and St Helens during his career.

On Sunday (17 July) Italian media reported that he had been found dead in a hotel room in Florence while on holiday.

He was said to have arrived on Friday with a 43-year-old woman, thought to be his partner, who is being treated at the city's Careggi hospital after she was found alongside him with serious injuries.

Staff at the four-star Hotel Continentale made the discovery on Saturday morning and alerted the police.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson said: "We are in touch with the Italian police following the death of a British man in Florence."

Back in the North West, Bibbey's former teams have paid tribute.

Wiggan Warriors wrote: "Wigan Warriors are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former prop forward, Ricky Bibey.

"Between 2001-2003, Ricky played 42 games for Wigan and was part of the 2002 Challenge Cup winning squad.

"We send our condolences to Ricky's family and friends at this sad time."

And Leigh Centurions also paid tribute, writing: "We are desperately saddened to learn of the passing of their popular former prop forward Ricky Bibey (HN#1211) while on holiday in Italy.

"Ricky was only 40 years of age. Everyone at the club sends sincere condolences to his family and friends at this time."

Mr Bibey was a professional rugby player for more than a decade until he retired in 2012 due to an Achilles tendon injury.

He's reported to have worked as an estate agent in the years following his retirement, and had previously run a development company.