Italian goalkeeper Daniel Leone has died at the age of 28 following a long battle with a brain tumour.
Former Reggina and Catanzaro shot-stopper Leone was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014 though returned to professional football after surgery.
A recurrence of the tumour forced him to retire with Leone having undergone more chemotherapy in recent months.
Leone regularly kept fans updated in emotional Instagram posts alongside his partner, model Martina De Sarro.
Former Serie A goalkeeper Christian Puggioni paid tribute to Leone following his passing, remembering a lovely story.
“I have always appreciated your tenacity and I have been rooting for you, always,” Puggioni said.
“Your every victory was my victory. Then the news you never want to have.
“In silence, from afar, always respecting your dignity and fortitude, I kept rooting for you, even stronger.
“After four years of battle, however, today you’re gone. The emptiness you leave is immense, and some might think you lost the most important game of your life.
“Poor, silly boy – because yes, Daniel, you won. You won, teaching many, the dignity of facing life’s real problems.
“You taught me the courage to live through suffering with strength and hope. You taught, that you can leave your name, branded in people’s memory, with example and courage.”
While Napoli defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo wrote: “Rest in peace, my friend.”