Tributes pour in for Ryan McBride after Derry captain found dead at home
The Irish soccer community was in shock after it emerged that Ryan McBride, current captain of Derry City FC, had died suddenly at the age of 27.
McBride, who began playing for his home-town team Derry in 2011 and starred for the side alongside current Republic of Ireland star James McClean, had played in all four games for City this season, most recently Saturday's 4-0 win over Drogheda United.
It was reported locally that defender McBride was found dead at his home in Derry last night. The cause of death is unknown.
According to the Derry Journal the player was found dead in his bed earlier this evening. The newspaper is reporting that crowds of supporters gathered outside his home at Bluebell Hill Gardens.
His former manager at Derry, current Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny, and former team-mate McClean were at RTE headquarters in Dublin attending the FAI International awards when news came through.
McClean will be excused from training with the senior Ireland team this week to attend the funeral.
Derry were due to play at home to Limerick in a rearranged Premier Division game tomorrow night but it's almost certain that tie will not now go ahead.
This is the latest tragedy to strike the Brandywell club. Last year, popular striker Mark Farren died at the age of 33 after battling with a brain tumour. Also last year, current Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother in law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.
McBride scored the winner for Derry in their recent win away to Shamrock Rovers and he was also on target for the Candystripes in their 3-1 win over champions Dundalk last week.
Tributes have been pouring in from around the Irish football community with players, ex-players, and clubs offering their condolences.
"Can't believe the tragic news I've just heard about Ryan Mcbride... An absolute warrior on the pitch. Thoughts are with his family," wrote Galway United midfielder Gavan Holohan.
"We are shocked to hear this evening the passing of our member and @derrycityfc Captain Ryan McBride. Our thoughts are with his family," wrote PFAI Ireland.
"No words. Devastating," wrote Erin McClean, wife of Irish international and former teammate James McClean.
Desperately sad news about Ryan McBride. Thoughts with his family and friends. RIP— Richie Sadlier (@RichieSadlier) March 19, 2017