West Ham’s Michail Antonio has announced that his father has died after fighting illness for seven years.
The 30-year-old took to Instagram to deliver the news and has said he won’t be using social media for the forseeable future.
Antonio asked that fans pray for his family during this difficult time and that he will reconnect with them once he feels he is ready.
He said: “Over the last 7 years, my dad has been ill. In and out of hospital and now his life has come to its end.
“I’ve been getting messages and I’ve been getting phone calls so I just want to put this out and say I’m not going to be responding to people much or posting anything on Instagram until I feel like I’m ready to again.
“I want all of you to put my family in my prayers.”
Antonio’s family hail from Jamaica and raised the Hammers star in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
Local outfit Tooting & Mitcham United were Antonio’s first club before he was signed by Reading in 2008.
He had a host of loan spells away before doing enough to impress Sheffield Wednesday whom he joined on a permanent basis in 2012.
The versatile forward spent two years at Hillsborough before a short stint at Nottingham Forest earned him a move to the top flight with West Ham.
Antonio has gone on to make 144 appearances in east London scoring 30 goals, winning the club’s Player of the Year award in 2017.