The former Rangers and Netherlands player Fernando Ricksen has died at the age of 43, six years after revealing that he had motor neurone disease.
“Rangers is deeply saddened to announce that former player Fernando Ricksen passed away this morning following his battle with motor neurone disease,” confirmed the Scottish club.
“Fernando spent six trophy-laden seasons at Ibrox having initially joined a number of other Dutch players under manager Dick Advocaat in the summer of 2000.”
Ricksen, who won 12 caps and was signed by Rangers from AZ Alkmaar for £3.75m, raised awareness of motor neurone disease and funds to tackle it through the Fernando Ricksen Foundation.
A benefit match, held at Ibrox in January 2015, was attended by more than 41,000 fans and raised £320,000, with the proceeds split between Fernando, his daughter Isabella, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.
Rangers added: “The thoughts of everyone at Rangers are today with his wife Veronika, his daughter Isabella and all his family and friends.”
Peter Lovenkrands, who also joined Rangers in 2000 and spent six years with the club, paid tribute to his former teammate on social media. “You looked after me when we signed at Rangers together, taking me back and forward to training because I didn’t have a car, great memories on and off the pitch,” he posted on Instagram. “A true warrior and leader on the pitch! You’ll be truly missed. RIP my friend.”