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Derry City captain Ryan McBride has passed away aged 27.
The defender passed away at his family home on Sunday, just a day after leading his side to a 4-0 win over Drogheda in the Airtricity Premier League.
The cause of death is unknown.
McBride has been an ever present for the Candystripes since making his debut in 2011 and was appointed club captain in 2015.
A statement from the club read: “Derry City Football Club is deeply saddened by the untimely death of our captain, Ryan Mc Bride. 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 teammates and our management and support staff. Ryan was a player and a great captain but he was also their friend and teammate. 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.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam”
Speaking to the BBC, Derry City chairman Phil O'Doherty said: "This news is so hard to take in," . "He started the season so well and scored a really important goal against Shamrock Rovers recently.
"The players and management staff are in shock and it's an extremely tough time for everyone. He was incredibly respected. He was an ideal captain.
"He was from the Brandywell area and he just walked across the road to his home after every game."
Derry were due to play Limerick on Tuesday evening but as a mark of respect the game will be rescheduled.
FAI chief executive John Delaney added: "Irish football is in mourning with the loss of a true great of the game.
"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 his 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."
President Michael D Higgins has led the tributes for the Derry-born defender, tweeting: "Along with all those who support Irish football, I express my sadness and condolences to the family of Derry City FC Captain Ryan McBride."
Current Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny told RTE Radio: "When the news came in, I couldn't believe it. These days anything is possible on social media so I actually didn't believe it.
"Of course, he had played last week. We brought our Dundalk team up to play Derry City in Buncrana and he scored the winning goal.
"He scored the winning goal from a corner kick, his trademark and I shook hands and was chatting to him. I can't believe the news."
Republic of Ireland international James McClean played alongside McBride at Derry and he took to Instagram to pay tribute to his former team-mate.
"Tonight we lost someone [I] had to the privilege to play along aside but also got on well with of the field, a warrior that literally would throw his body on the line when he pulled on that Derry City jersey, a club that meant so much to him, but more importantly a big gentleman of the field.. sleep tight big man may god bless you and your family #5 #townilovedsowell," he wrote.
McClean will be excused from training with the Ireland team to attend the funeral.
"It is tragic," Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said. "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.
"You get things like this almost on a daily basis and it's puts football and sport in some sort of perspective.
"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."