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Fernando Ricksen passed away on Wednesday after losing battle with motor neurone disease

‘Rest in peace my friend. True fighter on and off the pitch’: Stiliyan Petrov leads touching tributes after former Rangers star Fernando Ricksen passes away following six-year battle with motor neurone disease

  • Fernando Ricksen passed away aged 43 in early hours of Wednesday morning
  • The former Rangers man lost his six-year battle with motor neurone disease
  • The tributes poured in from football stars and clubs after the news of his death
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Tributes have poured in following the tragic death of former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen after losing his battle with motor neurone disease.

Ricksen passed away aged 43 in the early hours on Wednesday morning after courageously battling against the illness for six years following his diagnosis in 2013.

And since the heartbreaking news of his death, football stars and clubs have paid touching tributes to the Dutchman, won two league titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups during his six-year spell in Scotland. 

Fernando Ricksen passed away on Wednesday after losing battle with motor neurone disease

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Fernando Ricksen passed away on Wednesday after losing battle with motor neurone disease

Stiliyan Petrov paid a touching tribute on Twitter, saying: 'True fighter on and off the pitch'

Stiliyan Petrov paid a touching tribute on Twitter, saying: 'True fighter on and off the pitch'

Stiliyan Petrov paid a touching tribute on Twitter, saying: ‘True fighter on and off the pitch’

John Hartson also posted a moving message on social media following the news of his death

John Hartson also posted a moving message on social media following the news of his death

John Hartson also posted a moving message on social media following the news of his death

Stiliyan Petrov, a former Celtic rival of Ricksen’s, took to Twitter straight away, writing: ‘Rest in peace my friend. True fighter on and off the pitch. My thoughts are with you and your family.’

Former Celtic player John Hartson also wrote on Wednesday: ‘Sorry to hear Fernando Ricksen has passed away… fought till the end. My thoughts are with his immediate family and friends.’

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And the touching messages continued to pour in, with ex-Celtic striker Frank McAvennie writing: ‘Just heard the news about ex Rangers player Fernando Ricksen passing away, if anyone needs a bit of inspiration to keep going then look no further, RIP Buddy.’

Frank McAvennie told his followers on Twitter to 'look no further' then Ricksen for 'inspiration'

Frank McAvennie told his followers on Twitter to 'look no further' then Ricksen for 'inspiration'

Frank McAvennie told his followers on Twitter to ‘look no further’ then Ricksen for ‘inspiration’

Former Rangers team-mate Nacho Novo was quick to pay tribute after the tragic news

Former Rangers team-mate Nacho Novo was quick to pay tribute after the tragic news

Former Rangers team-mate Nacho Novo was quick to pay tribute after the tragic news

Rangers' rivals Celtic posted a statement on their website, sending their condolences
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Rangers' rivals Celtic posted a statement on their website, sending their condolences

Rangers’ rivals Celtic posted a statement on their website, sending their condolences 

Arsenal wrote: 'The thoughts of all us of here at Arsenal are with Fernando's loved ones'

Arsenal wrote: 'The thoughts of all us of here at Arsenal are with Fernando's loved ones'

Arsenal wrote: ‘The thoughts of all us of here at Arsenal are with Fernando’s loved ones’

Ricksen’s former Rangers team-mate, Nacho Novo wrote: ‘Sad news, my friend, my best friend, a role model, always a fighter. Love you to bits mate. RIP, I will see you soon brother.

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After Rangers confirmed the news on Wednesday, clubs from around Europe – including some of his former side’s – posted messages.

AZ Alkmaar wrote ‘Rest in Peace’, while his other former club Zenit Saint Petersburg said: ‘We’re deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former player Fernando Ricksen. 

Fans came to pay their respects outside the Ibrox on Wednesday after hearing the news

Fans came to pay their respects outside the Ibrox on Wednesday after hearing the news

Fans came to pay their respects outside the Ibrox on Wednesday after hearing the news

A supporter pays tribute to the Rangers treble winner outside the Ibrox gates

A supporter pays tribute to the Rangers treble winner outside the Ibrox gates

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A supporter pays tribute to the Rangers treble winner outside the Ibrox gates

‘He battled bravely against motor neurone disease right until the end and we are all thinking of him and his family at this difficult time.’

Rangers’ rivals Celtic posted a statement on their website following the tragic news, alongside the message on Twitter: ‘Condolences to family and friends of Fernando Ricksen.’

The likes of Arsenal and Swansea were also among the clubs to pay tribute too on social media. 

Furthermore, supporters turned up to the Ibrox to pay their respects to their former star on Wednesday, leaving flags and shirts outside the gates in memory of Ricksen.  

The tributes kept flooding in for Ricksen, who won two league titles and two Scottish Cups

The tributes kept flooding in for Ricksen, who won two league titles and two Scottish Cups

The tributes kept flooding in for Ricksen, who won two league titles and two Scottish Cups

Supporters look at the display outside a sombre Ibrox on Wednesday afternoon

Supporters look at the display outside a sombre Ibrox on Wednesday afternoon

Supporters look at the display outside a sombre Ibrox on Wednesday afternoon