Italy will wear black armbands tonight after former player Stefano Borgonovo lost his battle with motor neurone disease, aged 49.
The ex-Milan and Fiorentina star announced he was suffering from the illness which strikes sports figures in September 2008.
It is known as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gherig’s Disease, but is a form of motor neurone disease that had reduced Borgonovo to paralysis for many years.
He and former teammates held many events to help raise funds into researching the condition, as he was good friends with Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Baggio.
Modern stars like David Beckham, Mario Balotelli and Pippo Inzaghi also went to visit Borgonovo.
He was a striker who grew up in the Como youth academy, going on to play at Milan, Fiorentina, Pescara, Udinese and Brescia before retiring in 1996.
He represented Italy at Under-21, Under-23 and senior level with three full caps.
Borgonovo had his best playing years at Fiorentina, scoring 14 goals in 30 games in 1988-89 with teammate Baggio.
He had started a career as a Coach at Como, but had to retire in 2005 due to the onset of the disease.
Italy will wear black armbands this evening in the Confederations Cup semi-final.