The Irish President has paid tribute to Derry City Football Club captain Ryan McBride after he died suddenly at the age of 27.
The Irish Football Association (IFA) confirmed the tragedy.
McBride is thought to have died at his home in Derry, close to his side’s ground, on Sunday night. The cause of his death is unknown.
His last match was a 4-0 triumph over Drogheda United in the League of Ireland Premier Division on Saturday.
The IFA tweeted: “Thoughts tonight with the family of Ryan McBride and everyone involved with @derrycityfc.”
President Michael D Higgins tweeted: “Along with all those who support Irish football, I express my sadness and condolences to the family of @derrycityfc Captain Ryan McBride.”
This is the second tragedy to strike the club in just over a year.
Ex-Derry City and Glenavon striker Mark Farren died aged 33 in February 2016.
Derry’s record goalscorer had been receiving treatment for an aggressive brain tumour.
A year ago, Derry player Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.
A car slid off the pier and entered Lough Swilly.
John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, said Irish football was in mourning after losing a “true great of the game”.
“I would like to pass on my deepest condolences to Ryan’s family, friends, and his club, Derry City FC, for which he was their leader, their captain and their inspiration,” he said.
“On behalf of the FAI Board and everyone in the Association, I would like to offer our sympathies to all who were blessed to have known Ryan.
“Ryan’s passing has left a deep shock throughout football.”
A special tribute to McBride will be made at the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin on Friday.
McBride made his debut for his home town club in 2011 and was a firm fans’ favourite thanks in part to his committed style of defending.
He played more than 100 league matches for Derry.
The club’s SSE Airtricity Premier League game against Limerick on Tuesday has been postponed.
Shane Ross, the Republic’s Sports Minister, said: “I send my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ryan at this difficult time. His passing at such a young age is a tragedy and shocking for everyone at Derry City FC.”
Democratic Unionist leader and former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster tweeted: “My deepest condolences to the family and all @derrycityfc as they mourn the loss of the talented Ryan McBride. Such devastating news.”
Sinn Fein Assembly member for Foyle Raymond McCartney said there was widespread shock in Derry.
“Ryan was an excellent player, a great leader on and off the field, and an inspiration to many,” he said.
“I send my condolences and those of the party to the McBride family and everyone who knew Ryan.
“I have no doubt the community across the city will rally round to support them at this sad and difficult time.”
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, also tweeted condolences: “Sad news from #Derry Praying for family of #ryanmcbride and for his many friends and supporters who will miss him. Lord have mercy. RIP.”