(Reuters) - Bolton Wanderers defender Stephen Darby has retired from football after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, his club said on Tuesday.
Darby, who began his career at his hometown side Liverpool and made his debut in a Champions League fixture in 2008, joined Bolton in 2017 and last played for the Championship (second-tier) club in December.
He had loan spells at Swindon Town, Notts County and Rochdale, before moving to Bradford City where he played under current Bolton boss Phil Parkinson.
"It is with great sadness that I announce my immediate retirement from professional football due to a recent diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease," the 29-year-old said in a statement https://www.bwfc.co.uk/news/2018/september/stephen-darby-retires-from-football.
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank my team mates, Phil Parkinson and all the staff at Bolton Wanderers Football Club for their amazing support at what has been an extremely difficult period for myself and my family."
Bolton are 10th in the Championship table having narrowly avoided relegation to England's third tier last season.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)