Italian international and former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli dies of cancer

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By Mark Armstrong
Flowers and tributes for Gianluca Vialli at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground, London, following the announcement of the death of the former Italy, Juventus and Chelsea striker
Flowers and tributes for Gianluca Vialli at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground, London, following the announcement of the death of the former Italy, Juventus and Chelsea striker   -   Copyright  Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Italian international and former Chelsea and Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli has died aged 58 after a long battle with cancer. The Italian Football Federation described him as a "splendid person" who "leaves a void that cannot be filled."

Vialli played 59 times for Italy but in 2017 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There was optimism in 2020 when doctors said he was clear, but sadly the cancer returned in 2021.

Our correspondent in Rome, Giorgia Orlandi, summed up the response to the tragic news of his death.

"Gianluca Vialli has been described as one of the original cult heroes of Italian football towards the end of the 21st century, starring as a striker for both Sampdoria and Juventus, and then he went on to become a legend of English football at Chelsea, both as a player and a manager."

"Sampdoria, Juventus, Chelsea football clubs reacted to his death, with the English football club saying he will be missed by so many people, not just the Chelsea community but the entire footballing world including his native Italy, the club says, he was such an iconic figure.

Football fans across the world mourn his death and reactions have been pouring in from people from different backgrounds, categories including politicians and celebrities. And all these comments seem to have one thing in common - as Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni put it, "it is the fact that he will be remembered both as a great footballer and as a man whose and struggle recently have been any example to many."

Watch the video in the player above.