Thousands gather for Italian Serie A star Davide Astori funeral in Florence

Mario Balotelli among stars at funeral of tragic Italy star Davide Astori

Thousands gather for the funeral of Italian footballer Davide Astori

The 31-year-old was found in his hotel room ahead of Fiorentina's scheduled Serie A game against Udinese, though all games on Sunday were called off because of the tragic news.

Astori's body was taken to the Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital for an autopsy.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Italian prosecutors suggest that his death was "due to a suspected cardiac arrest by natural causes".

Mario Balotelli among stars at funeral of tragic Italy star Davide Astori
Fiorentina honour Davide Astori

"The second leg will be hard to turn this around, but anything can happen in football". Among the attendees were players and officials of Fiorentina as well as figures from clubs across Italy. We will try to honour the memory of Davide as best we can and support Francesca, Vittoria and his family.

The Italian global leaves behind long-term wife Francesca Fioretti and their two-year-old daughter Vittoria.

Fioretti was informed of the news by Fiorentina directors who visited her personally, while Astori's parents, who live in Bergamo, were told on the telephone.

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THIS Serie A fixture will be held on Sunday, March 11. When the match was officially called off, a picture of Astori was shown on the giant screen, leading to applause throughout the stadium.

"Astori was a great player on and off the pitch", said Gattuso, who spend 13 years at Milan as a player.

"I know it's so hard, it's impossible to take away that pain and find an explanation", he said. "The football world is deeply affected by what has happened".

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Today the Bandiere were there in Santa Croce once again, however this time they would represent Florence for a much more sombre occasion.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, who was in tears during a minute's silence for Astori at Wembley on Wednesday night, was in attendance along with team-mates and manager Massimiliano Allegri. On Sunday Buffon addressed the infant in an eloquent Instagram post saying that she "deserves to know that her father was in all respects a ideal person, a great flawless person".

But they will welcome back Nicolas Viola, who returns from suspension.

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