Fiorentina captain Davide Astori has died in his sleep ahead of their Serie A fixture against Udinese on Sunday.
Astori, a 31-year-old Italy international central defender, had been with the club since 2016 having previously played for Milan, Cagliari and Roma.
He had 14 international caps with Italy and was a member of the squad that played in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
All of Sunday’s Serie A fixtures have been postponed as a mark of respect.
One report from Italy said his teammates broke down his door when Astori failed to come down for breakfast or answer his phone.
“The lad did not turn up to the team breakfast at 9.30am and he was usually the first to arrive,” said Fiorentina spokesman Arturo Mastronardi.
“So they went to check on him. Davide was sleeping in a room on his own. We still don’t know the cause of death. The Magistrate came here and the body has been taken for an autopsy, which I think will be conducted today. We have no further details.
“The last to see Davide was Marco Sportiello. Some players sleep in single rooms, some in doubles.
“His family is from Bergamo, so his parents were alerted by telephone, whereas his partner was visited in person in Florence by some of the directors who were in the city.
“The team will return to Florence with a charter plane.”
Astori leaves a wife Francesca and two-year-old daughter.
The club’s president also confirmed that the player was set to sign a new contract on Monday, with an original meeting on Thursday postponed due to the adverse weather around the continent.
A statement issued by Fiorentina read: “Fiorentina are profoundly shaken and forced to announce that their captain Davide Astori has died.
“For this terrible and delicate situation, and above all out of respect for his family, we appeal to the sensitivity of the media.”