African stars mourn Fiorentina captain Davide Astori — EXTRA TIME

African stars mourn Fiorentina captain Davide Astori — EXTRA TIME

The Serie A club announced the defender, an Italy global, passed away in his sleep at a hotel the team were staying in ahead of Sunday's match against Udinese.

Serie A announced that all of Sunday's matches, including the derby between AC Milan and Inter Milan, would be postponed. Fiorentina's game at Udinese in northeast Italy was called off, along with all fixtures in the country's top two divisions.

La Fiorentina profondamente sconvolta si trova costretta a comunicare che e' scomparso il suo capitano Davide Astori, colto da improvviso malore.

"Fiorentina are profoundly shocked to have to announce the death of captain Davide Astori after a sudden illness", the Serie A club said on Twitter.

Astori's body was taken to the Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital for an autopsy.

It is believed Astori died of "cardio-circulatory arrest due to natural causes" - a type of heart attack - but that he showed "no warning signs" of having any illness, said Udine prosecutor Antonio De Nicolo. "It is unusual that such a thing should happen to a professional who is so closely monitored without there being any warning signs".

Schalke 04's Amine Harit wrote, "Rest in peace Davide Astori".

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Astori leaves behind his wife, Francesca Fioretti, and their 2-year-old daughter.

David Astori playing for Fiorentina.

He spent six years in Sardinia and made his national team debut before being sent out on loan to Roma in 2014.

Fiorentina's match against Udinese was immediately called off, swiftly followed by Genoa vs. Cagliari, which was scheduled to kick off shortly after the news emerged.

Fiorentina confirmed the news Sunday morning in a statement posted on the club's official website.

'I had him with the national team, i repeat it's very hard to speak in this moment about this tragedy. Words mean nothing, the decision to postpone the matches is the right one. "Football is the most popular sport but also the one that has to give special signs at this time".

Several other prominent figures in football, have posted messages on social media in honour of Astori's memory, including Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon.

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"This is a tragedy", Conte said. "It's very hard at this moment to find the right words for the family", Conte told Sky Sports on Sunday ahead of his side's 1-0 loss to Manchester City.

'He was a fantastic guy, a great player but especially a fantastic guy.

Astori scored his only global goal in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup third-place play-off against Uruguay in Salvador, giving Italy a first-half lead in a match that finished 2-2.

"I believe that no doctor in the world can ever tell you that there is a foolproof remedy when it comes to the risk of sudden death".

Davide Astori was born in Bergamo and played for local team Pontisola before joining AC Milan in 2006.

Loan moves at Roma and Fiorentina followed before the Viola made a permanent move for him in 2016. I am close to the family and his loved ones. The Azzurri won the contest on penalties.

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