Former Liverpool defender Stephen Darby has been forced to make an early retirement from the game.
The twenty-nine year old Bolton Wanderers player has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and has no choice but to call time on his professional career early.
He left Anfield six years ago to join Bradford City on a permanent deal after loan spells with Swindon Town, Notts County and Rochdale having made seven first-team appearances for the Reds.
Darby, who has not played since December of last year, has asked for his privacy to be maintained at this difficult time for him and his family.
“I would like to ask for privacy at this time so I can adjust to the battle I have ahead and that I can spend time with those closest to me,” he is quoted by BBC Sport.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my team-mates, manager and all the staff at Bolton for their amazing support at what has been an extremely difficult period.” he added.
Motor neurone disease is a degenerative condition which has no cure and impacts on how nerves in the brain and spinal cord work.
Liverpool supporters everywhere will be wishing Darby and his family all the best at this difficult time.