On Sunday, March 4th, Fiorentina captain Davide Astori was found dead in his bed at a Best Western Hotel in Italy ahead of a fixture against Udinese that day.
The cause of death is unknown, and an autopsy is planned for tomorrow. According to ANSA, an Italian news outlet, the cause of death was “cardiocirculatory arrest,” but nothing is confirmed. Astori, a renowned center back, captained a Fiorentina side that currently sits 10th in the Serie A, the most competitive league in Italy. He began his senior career with Italian powerhouse AC Milan in 2006, yet never made his way up to the first team. In 2008, Astori was sent to fellow Serie A side Cagliari, where he played for 6 years, earning 174 appearances. In 2014, Astori was loaned out to AS Roma, and a year later joined Fiorentina, where he would unknowingly finish his career.
Since joining the Florence side, Astori has made 57 appearances for the club. At the beginning of the 2017-18 season, he was named team captain. However, Astori’s season came to a quick end when he was found in his bed, unresponsive, by Fiorentina’s massage therapist. Once the news broke out of his sudden death, the soccer world went into disbelief.
“Shocked by the tragic news, the whole Serie A family tightens around the family of Davide Astori and AC Fiorentina,” the league stated in a tweet on Sunday. “All the games scheduled today are postponed as a sign of mourning.” Additionally, teammates, coaches, and teams took to social media to express their sadness.
His former club A.S. Roma tweeted, “The club is devastated to learn of the death of Davide Astori. The thoughts of everyone at AS Roma are with the player’s family, friends and teammates at this terrible and tragic time.”
Former A.C. Milan teammate Stephan el Shaarawy tweeted, “Everything else becomes unimportant… there really are no words. RIP Davide.”
Also, UEFA announced on Monday that a minute’s silence will be observed in the upcoming Champions League and Europa League games this week to honor the life of Astori. Another act of kindness came from Fiorentina, who announced on Monday that they will extend Astori’s contract for life, with the salary being given to his girlfriend, Italian model Francesca Fioretti, and their two-year-old daughter Vittoria. The day after his death, Astori was set to sign a new contract with the club.Furthermore, Fiorentina fans have recently traveled to their stadium, Stadio Artemio Franchi, where they have hung up signs, scarfs, and flowers to remember their captain.
“He was a reference point for the whole team,” said Fiorentina co-owner Andrea Della Valle in a statement. “We talked for a good half an hour after the Bologna game and he was telling me all about the project and the new lads. It was like he was already a coach or a sporting director.”
“I am proud to have known him. Astori was the first to believe in this reboot for the club and we will always miss him. He was a true captain.”