Italy football star and Fiorentina captain Davide Astori dies at 31

Astori in action for Fiorentina. Image PA

"The belief is that the player died of a cardiac arrest by natural causes", Udine prosecutor Antonio De Nicolo said.

"The boy did not show up for the team's breakfast at 9:30", the club's press officer Arturo Mastronardi recalled. Davide was sleeping in a room on his own.

"Hello dear Asto, I hardly publicly expressed a thought about a person, because I have always thought that the beauty and the uniqueness of relationships, mutual respect and affection, were not exploited or thrown into the meal to those who do not have the delicacy to respect certain ties".

ACF Fiorentina captain and Italian worldwide Davide Astori, 31, has died due to a sudden illness, the club announced on Sunday, sending the Italian football community into mourning.

"For the awful and delicate situation, and above all for the respect of his family, appeal is made to everyone's sensibility", Fiorentina said. He passed away in his sleep overnight on Saturday evening.

Antonio Conte was asked about his relationship with Astori in his pre-match interview with Sky Sports today. However, both sides featured players who knew Astori well.

Astori scored his only worldwide goal in the 2013 Confederations Cup third-place play-off against Uruguay, giving Italy a first-half lead in a match which finished 2-2. He played for AC Milan, Roma and Cagliari.

Two years later he moved to Cagliari - the club where he would make his name. As was Astori's decision to turn down a lucrative offer from Spartak Moscow in 2012 to stay with them for another couple of years.

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Around the same time, he was scouted as a long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic by then-Manchester United boss David Moyes. Prior to that he spent six years at Cagliari and one on loan at AS Roma. The game was postponed after Astori's death was announced.

Some reports suggested Astori had suffered a heart attack.

When Fiorentina officially announced the news on Sunday morning, the weight of the world fell upon the Italian soccer community.

Fiorentina's goalkeeper Marco Sportiello was apparently with Astori playing Playstation until 23:30 the night before.

Astori is believed to be survived by his wife and their two-year-old daughter.

Football's world governing body FIFA said everyone within Italian football was huddling around Astori's family.

Sunday's game against Udinese was postponed after the announcement of the player's death. "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.

"A man who loved football and who grew up as footballer with us", it began.

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