ROME: A minute’s silence will be held before all European competition matches this week in the Champions League and Europa League after the weekend death of 31-year-old Fiorentina captain Davide Astori.

All Serie A matches on Sunday were postponed, including the derby between AC Milan and Internazionale, after Astori was discovered dead in his hotel room on Sunday morning.

Giovanni Malago, the head of the Italian Olympic Committee and acting head of Serie A, said it was his duty to call off Sunday’s matches, which he did at the request of the clubs.Fie

Malago added: “I have spoken to more than one doctor and I don’t want to get involved in speculation. I believe that no doctor in the world can ever tell you that there is a foolproof remedy when it comes to the risk of sudden death.”

Milan, as Italian and European clubs and dozens of players sent messages of condolence and expressed their disbelief.

Fiorentina, in a statement, said: “Fiorentina is deeply upset to have to announce that its captain Davide Astori has passed away, victim of a sudden illness.#

“Due to the terrible and delicate situation, and above all for the respect of his family, an appeal is made to everyone’s sensitivity.”

Defender Astori, in his 10th Serie A season, was found dead in his hotel room in Udine, where Fiorentina had been due to face Udinese at the Dacia Arena later on Sunday.

The Fiorentina staff became worried when Astori, who was married with a daughter, did not join his team mates for breakfast at around 9.30 am local time, club spokesman Arturo Mastronardi told reporters outside the hotel.

Astori, who made 289 top flight appearances, joined Fiorentina on loan in August 2015 and the club signed him outright one year later. He previously spent six seasons at Cagliari and one on loan at Roma.

He was raised at AC Milan but never played for their senior team.

He made 14 appearances for Italy between 2012 and 2017 and was in the squad at the Confederations Cup in 2013 where Italy finished third.

Udine state prosecutor Antonio Di Nicolo was quoted by the ANSA news agency saying it was believed“that the player died from a cardiac arrest, the result of natural causes”.

PM’s tribute

Former Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was one of the first to pay tribute to the player, saying via Twitter: “It seems impossible. I’m in a state of disbelief and I cry with his family and all for Fiorentina. Goodbye captain.”

The teams of Genoa and Cagliari were already on the pitch and warming up for their lunchtime match between when news broke of Astori’s death.

Fans applauded when Astori’s picture was shown on the stadium screen and left in silence when it was announced that the game would not go ahead.

Italian media reported that Cagliari coach Diego Lopez, a former team mate of Astori, needed medical treatment on hearing the news.

Veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon wrote on Instagram:“You were the best expression of an out-of-fashion, old world ruled by values such as generosity, elegance, politeness and respect towards other people. You’ve been one of the best sportspeople I’ve ever met.”