President Higgins leads tributes after sudden death of Irish football captain Ryan McBride, 27

President Higgins leads tributes after sudden death of Irish football captain Ryan McBride, 27

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins and figures throughout the Irish sporting community have paid tribute to Derry City captain Ryan McBride after he died suddenly aged just 27.

McBride died as his home in Derry on Sunday night, the Irish Football Associations (IFA) confirmed.

A cause of death is not yet known.

Club captain McBride skippered a Derry side who have gone four games unbeaten since the start of the current season.

His last match was a 4-0 drubbing of Drogheda United in the League of Ireland Premier Division on Saturday.

The club were due to play Limerick tomorrow but the match has now been officially postponed.

President Higgins tweeted: “Along with all those who support Irish football, I express my sadness and condolences to the family of Derry City FC Captain Ryan McBride.”

The IFA said: "Thoughts tonight with the family of Ryan McBride and everyone involved with @derrycityfc.”

McBride’s death is the second tragedy to strike the Candystripes in a year.

In March 2016, Derry midfielder Josh Daniels lost his mother, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

The five died after their car slide off the pier and entered the water.

John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, said Irish football had lost a "true great of the game" following McBride's death.

"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 tweeted.

"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."

Mr Delaney confirmed that a special tribute to McBride will be made before Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin this Friday.

McBride made his debut for Derry in 2011 and quickly became a fan favourite for his tough tackling defensive style.

He made more than 100 League of Ireland appearances for him hometown club.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said there was “widespread shock” across the city after McBride’s unexpected passing.

"Ryan was an excellent player, a great leader on and off the field and an inspiration to many,” he said.

"I have no doubt the community across the city will rally round to support his family at this sad and difficult time."