Derry City have paid tribute to captain Ryan McBride, who has died at the age of 27.
McBride is understood to have died at home on Sunday. A cause of death is not yet known.
The defender will be remembered as one of the League of Ireland Premier Division side’s all-time greats, the club said.
“Derry City Football Club is deeply saddened by the untimely death of our captain, Ryan McBride,” read a statement on the club’s official Facebook page.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with his father, Lexie, his sisters Colleen, Siuinin and Caitlain, and his partner Mairead who are heartbroken at his loss.
“We are also conscious of his team-mates and our management and support staff. Ryan was a player and a great captain but he was also their friend and team-mate. They are deeply shocked and will miss his inspiration and his leadership.
“Our supporters are also shocked and saddened. To them, Ryan was Derry City through and through. The commitment and passion he brought on to the field is the bond that binds player and supporter.
“In the hearts and minds of all of us and long into the future Ryan McBride will be remembered as one of the greats of Derry City Football Club.
“We are also conscious that this is the anniversary of the death of the members of the McGrotty and Daniels family in Buncrana and it is only a short time since we remembered Mark Farren’s death.
“It is at times like this that we are reminded that our club is also a community of people. As in the past, that community will come together to comfort and support Ryan’s family.
“In the coming days and weeks we will grieve the loss of our captain and our friend.
“Sometime in the future, when we have got past the initial shock and have had the proper space to grieve his loss, we will find a way to celebrate his life.
“We will remember his civility and humility off the field, his commitment and passion on it and the deep love he carried in his heart for Derry City Football Club.”
The Irish Football Association tweeted on Sunday evening: “Thoughts tonight with the family of Ryan McBride and everyone involved with @derrycityfc.”
His death comes a day after McBride led his team to a 4-0 victory over Drogheda United.
Drogheda United said on Twitter that they “would like to offer our deepest condolences to @derrycityfc on the sudden passing of their captain Ryan McBride”.
The Football Association of Ireland expressed its sympathies to the family of McBride, who made over 100 league appearances for his hometown club after making his debut in 2011.
Tuesday’s league game against Limerick will be rescheduled as a mark of respect, the FAI confirmed.
FAI chief executive officer John Delaney said: “Irish football is in mourning with the loss of a true great of the game, with the shocking news about Ryan McBride’s passing.
“I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, and his club, Derry City FC, for which he was their leader, their captain and their inspiration.
“On behalf of the FAI Board and everyone in the association, I would like to offer our sympathies to all who were blessed to have known Ryan.
“Ryan’s passing has left a deep shock throughout football. We will remember Ryan with a tribute at Friday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Wales.”
FAI director of competitions Fran Gavin added: “I am shocked at the sad news of Ryan’s passing. I saw Ryan in action for Derry City against Drogheda United recently, where he was outstanding as he so often was for his team.
“Our thoughts are with Ryan’s family and all at Derry City at this very sad time. It is a terrible blow to the SSE Airtricity League and to everyone in football to lose such a great player.”
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has offered his condolences to the family of McBride.
Speaking after putting the Republic squad through their paces at Abbotstown on Monday, O’Neill said: “It is tragic.
“I didn’t know the young lad personally myself but James McClean is a very good friend of his. James is devastated by the news, obviously his family is as well. It’s a really tragic event.
“James, who is probably the closest to him and his family, if there’s anything that he feels he wants to do, then I would certainly give him the time to do so.”