Ryan McBride dies aged 27 - clubs, players and fans pay tributes to Derry City's captain fantastic
Football is in shock today after the sudden death of Derry City FC captain Ryan McBride, aged just 27.
The talented player, who lived in the shadow of his beloved Brandywell football stadium, was found dead in bed at his Bogside home last night. The respected centre-back was unresponsive when his father went to wake him just after 8.30pm at their Bluebell Gardens home.
It's understood he passed away after going for a lie-down on feeling unwell. The cause of death is not known.
Just 24 hours earlier Ryan captained his team to a blistering 4-0 victory against Drogheda United in Buncrana, and last week scored the winning goal against Shamrock Rovers.
Stunned fans gathered at the McBride home to pray last night.
Derry City FC head steward Billy Scampton said all at the club were "totally devastated and sad beyond belief at the news".
In a statement the club said: "Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.
"Our supporters are 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."
Tributes poured in on social media as clubs and footballers throughout Ireland who had faced Ryan and his team on the field paid their respects to one of the most talented players in Irish football.
McBride, who began playing for Derry in 2011 and starred alongside current Republic of Ireland star James McClean, played in all four games for City this season.
Former republic international and Manchester United defender Paul McGrath wrote: "My thoughts are with the family, friends & club mates of Derry City Captain Ryan McBride who has sadly passed away. RIP."
Former England striker and ex-Aston Villa star Stan Collymore added: "Sincere condolences to the friends and family of Ryan McBride, Derry City skipper who tragically died today. Terrible news, was only 27."
The Derry City FC fans Twitter account tweeted: "Captain. Leader. Legend and absolute gentleman. #RIPRyanMcBride."
The Professional Footballers Association of Ireland sent its condolences to his family.
"We are shocked to hear this evening the passing of our member and @derrycityfc Captain Ryan McBride. Our thoughts are with his family," it said.
SDLP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood tweeted: "Terrible news tonight about Ryan McBride. We are all thinking of his family and friends. Rest in Peace."
The Irish FA tweeted condolences from the @OfficialIrishFA account, writing: "Thoughts tonight with the family of Ryan McBride and everyone involved with @derrycityfc."
The official Linfield FC account added: "Deepest sympathy to the family of Ryan McBride and to everyone at @derrycityfc on the sudden passing of their club captain."
Glentoran FC tweeted: "Deepest heartfelt condolences from all at Glentoran to Ryan's family and to our many friends at Derry City." Dundalk FC said: "All @DundalkFC sends our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Ryan McBride & our friends at @derrycityfc. Shocking and sad news."
Cork City FC said: "Our deepest sympathies to all @derrycityfc on the sudden passing of Ryan McBride. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP."
The Candystripes were to host Limerick in a rearranged Premier Division game tomorrow - it's almost certain that will not now go ahead.
McBride spent his entire senior career with his home town club and he was part of the side that won the FAI Cup in 2012.
Last Monday Derry City boss Kenny Shiels praised his bravery for playing through a flu bug to inspire them to a win over league champions Dundalk, with McBride scoring a late goal.
He said last year: "Ryan's a player we feel is not only the captain of the team but is influential and leads by example."
It is the latest tragedy for the Brandywell club.
Last year popular striker Mark Farren died aged 33 after battling with a brain tumour.
Current Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother in law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy, which happened a year ago today.