The former footie star has opened up on social media

After an incredibly tough two years, football player Rio Ferdinand has shared an emotional message for his children following the tragic deaths of their mother and grandmother.

The former England player announced his mum Janice had died a few weeks ago at the age of 58 after battling cancer.

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The heartbreaking news comes just two years since Rio lost his wife Rebecca Ellison, 34, to breast cancer in May 2015 after 15 years together.

And now Rio has posted a moving quote for his three children – Lorenz, 11, Tate, eight and Tia, six – vowing to create ‘great memories’ for them.

More: ‘Forever missed’: TOWIE’s Kate Wright pays emotional tribute to Rio Ferdinand’s mum after her tragic death

In an image to his 2.3m Instagram followers, the 38-year-old shared: ‘There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way’.

Next to the heartfelt message, the star – who is currently dating TOWIE‘s Kate Wright – added: ‘I just wish happiness for my kids from now….the last couple of years they have seen too much pain.

‘Creating great memories for them going forward is the aim.’

Rio’s fans were quick to comment on the heartfelt post, with one writing: ‘You’re doing a great job, Rio. You are showing your kids right from wrong and having to do all of that on your own must be a struggle. Your wife and mother will be so proud of you.’

Another added: ‘I have the most utmost respect for you, Rio. God bless you and your family.’

A third replied: ‘Stay strong for them Rio. You are doing an amazing job so far. Love&respect to you and your family legend.’

While a fourth said: ‘Keep ya head up rio. Your doing your kids and yourself proud. There mummy and your wife would be so proud of you right now!’

Sending our love to Rio and the whole family at such a difficult time.