The football star has released an emotional statement following the heartbreaking news

Rio Ferdinand‘s mum has tragically passed away following a battle with cancer.

Janice St Fort died on Thursday aged just 58, leaving the footballer star and the rest of his family devastated.

In an emotional statement issued by Rio and his family, Janice was described as a ‘devoted mother’ and ‘an inspiration’.

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‘We are heartbroken to announce that our amazing mum Janice passed away today after an ongoing battle with cancer,’ the statement read.

‘She was an inspiration to us all and was loved by everyone who knew her. She died at Guy’s Cancer Unit, London Bridge Hospital, with her loving husband Peter and us, her four children, at her bedside.

‘She was a devoted mother to us all, and she was the most incredible grandmother to our children.

‘The whole family are devastated. Our mum was the centre and the heart of our family and has supported us all through many difficult times, always with a smile on her face. Her strength and courage, as well as her great sense of humour and immense kindness, were never-ending.’

Rio and his mum on Mothers Day two years ago [Instagram]

The family then paid tribute those who had cared for her, adding: ‘We would like to thank all the staff at Guy’s Cancer Unit for looking after our mum so well during her illness especially Marta and Joanna as well as everyone who has sent kind wishes to us all during this difficult time.’

Dad of three, Rio – who also lost his wife, Rebecca Ellison to cancer in 2015 – previously described his mother as ‘supermum’ and said she ‘cooked and cleaned, and moved heaven and Earth to ensure my younger brother Anton and I got to school or youth clubs on time’.

All at Now send best wishes to Rio and family at this difficult time.