Footballer Fernando Ricksen dies aged 43 following battle with Motor Neurone Disease
Sept. 18, 2019
The former Rangers player was a Dutch international earned 12 caps
Former Rangers player and Dutch international Fernando Ricksen has died from Motor Neurone Disease at the age of 43.
The player, who was married with a daughter, had campaigned to raise awareness and money for the cruel and incurable condition.
The club said Fernando spent "six trophy-laden seasons" at Ibrox in the summer of 2000.
He endured a "difficult start to life in Glasgow," the club said in a statement , but "in typical Fernando fashion, he worked hard in the face of adversity to become a mainstay in the side when Alex McLeish took over as manager in December 2001."
He played in both the League Cup and Scottish cup finals of that season, as Gers defeated Ayr United and Celtic respectively for the cup double.
The club played tribute to his "terrific free-kick against Motherwell in a 5-1 League Cup fin win as he lifted his first trophy as captain", adding: "But the main event of the season was still to come."
"Trailing Celtic by two points going into the final game of the season, a defeat for Martin O’Neill’s side at Motherwell coupled with a win for Gers at Hibs meant McLeish’s men sensationally claimed the title – with Fernando being the man to lift the trophy on one of the most iconic days in the club’s history."
He left the club for Zenit and "in a twist of fate, was an unused substitute for them against Rangers in the 2008 UEFA Cup Final."
In October 2013, he revealed he was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease, and since then, has "fought a terrific battle against the condition, raising awareness and funds for the Fernando Ricksen Foundation which aims to help others suffering from the illness."
A benefit match was held at Ibrox in January 2015, and attracted more than 41,000 fans to Ibrox.
It raised £320,000 with the proceeds split between Fernando, his daughter Isabella, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.
A member of the Rangers Hall of Fame, he also won 12 caps for his native Holland.
The statement added: "The thoughts of everyone at Rangers is today with his wife Veronika, his daughter Isabella and all his family and friends."
Ricksen's biographer, Vincent de Vries, tweeted: "THE FIGHT IS OVER... RIP Fernando Ricksen (1976-2019)
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