The beloved mother of Rio and Anton Ferdinand has passed away after a battle with cancer, and Rio has said he is “heartbroken” over his loss.
Janice St Fort, who was just 58-years-old, died in hospital on Thursday with her husband Peter and her children by her bedside.
The heartbreaking news comes after Rio lost his wife at the age of 34 to cancer also, and is something that he has struggled to come to terms with as he brought their three children up as a single parent.
His mother featured in his documentary ‘Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad’, and she played a huge part in looking after her son and grandchildren during the loss of Rio’s wife, Rebecca Ellison.
In a statement issued by the footballer, his brother and the family, they said the “devoted mother” will be greatly missed.
“We are heartbroken to announce that our amazing mum Janice passed away today after an ongoing battle with cancer,” it read.
“She was an inspiration to us all and was loved by everyone who knew her. She died at Guy’s Cancer Unit, London Bridge Hospital, with her loving husband Peter and us, her four children, at her bedside.
“She was a devoted mother to us all, and she was the most incredible grandmother to our children.
“The whole family are devastated. Our mum was the centre and the heart of our family and has supported us all through many difficult times, always with a smile on her face. Her strength and courage, as well as her great sense of humour and immense kindness, were never-ending.
“We would like to thank all the staff at Guy’s Cancer Unit for looking after our mum so well during her illness especially Marta and Joanna as well as everyone who has sent kind wishes to us all during this difficult time.”
Janice was only 17 when she had Rio, but he has described her as “a strong girl”.
“Her Irish mum walked out on the family home in Bermondsey when she was eight.
“She was one of six kids, but they all mucked in to help their father run the house.
“She was also magnificent on our estate. When our neighbour called me the n-word, Mum kicked her door down, dragged her out of her house and made her apologise to me.”
Our condolences go out to Rio and his family at this incredibly difficult time.