Italy and Fiorentina defender Astori dies By

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Italy, and the soccer world as a whole, were stunned Sunday morning by the news that Davide Astori, Fiorentina's captain and a former Italian national team defender, had died suddenly in his hotel room. "Given this awful and delicate situation we appeal to everyone's sensitivity at this time, above all out of respect for his family", the Florence team said in a statement on Twitter. Sounded the starting whistle and the match between Genoa and Cagliari.

A boy gives the captain's armband to Davide Astori before Fiorentina's Serie A game against Chievo on 25 February.

Udine prosecutors told reporters the death may have been due to natural causes, according to ANSA news agency.

The EFA said in its letter that the death of Fiorentina's captain was a great shock, especially for the Egyptian players Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hegazi, as they were teammates in Fiorentina.

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A statement from the league read: "Shocked by this tragic news, all of the family of the Lega Serie A warmly unites around the family of Davide Astori and Fiorentina".

Udinese have confirmed that the fixture they were scheduled to play against Fiorentina on Sunday has been postponed as a outcome.

"You were the best expression of an old-fashioned world", Buffon said, "one that people have left behind, and which was governed by values like altruism, elegance, politeness and respect toward others".

The centre-back had 14 caps for his country after making his debut in 2011 and had enjoyed a professional career spanning 12 years, which also took in the 2013 Confederations Cup. Italy won the match 3-2 on penalty kicks. He had been with Fiorentina since 2016 and leaves wife Francesca and a two-year-old daughter.

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It is unclear if the rest of the Serie A programme will go ahead on Sunday, with Italian Players Association chief Damiano Tommasi calling for all matches to be cancelled.

He previously spent eight years at AC Milan after coming through the youth system.

"Compliments genuinely, you were one of the best sporting figures I ever came up against".

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