Italy, Fiorentina defender Davide Astori dies at age 31

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Italian worldwide defender Davide Astori died in his hotel room during the night of Saturday to Sunday, his club Fiorentina said on Sunday (Mar 4).

Fiorentina captain Davide Astori's death on Sunday on the eve of a Serie A clash between the Viola and Udinese sent shockwaves throughout the footballing world, with stars past and present posting tributes on social media to the 31-year-old defender.

"Ask everyone to show sympathy due to the awful and delicate nature of the situation, and also out of respect for the family of the deceased", - said in a statement, the club published on the official page on "Twitter".

National Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago, who is also Serie A commissioner, canceled Sunday's round and postponed all scheduled matches to an unspecified date.

Radja Nainggolan, Astori's former Cagliari teammate wrote on Instagram: "A great player, but even more than that, a great person".

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

He played for AS Roma on loan for one season, making 24 appearances for the club before making a loan switch to Fiorentina and then making a permanent switch to the club in 2016. The English Football Association said it plans to honour Astori when it hosts Italy at Wembley on March 27 in a friendly.

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The father-of-one reportedly died from cardiac arrest and from natural causes, however this is yet to be confirmed. He was a fantastic guy, a great player but a fantastic guy and I stay.

Seven of Astori's 14 caps for Italy came while he was at Cagliari and the goal he scored against Uruguay in the 2013 Confederations Cup third-place play-off was the first by a player from the Sardinian club since the days of Gigi Riva in the 1970s.

Mr Astori is survived by his two-year-old daughter and his wife Francesca Fioretti.

"Genuine compliments, you were one of the best sporting figures I ever came up against".

In announcing the postponement of Sunday's games, Serie A said: "Shocked by the tragic news, the whole family of the Lega Serie A unites around the family of Davide Astori and Fiorentina FC".

He later spent loan spells at Roma and Fiorentina.

Astori began his professional career with Italian team Cagliari in 2008 after coming through the AC Milan youth system.

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