Former Chievo, Inter, Valencia and Manchester City striker Bernardo Corradi revealed his eight-year-old son is seriously ill.
The Italy international retired in December 2012 after a brief spell in MLS with Montreal Impact.
His wife, actress and television personality Elena Santarelli, confirmed the heart-breaking news via a Facebook post.
“On November 30, it was as if I and my husband received a punch in the stomach without warning, a punch so strong that it takes your breath away and chills you to the bone in an instant.”
Their eight-year-old son Giacomo is suffering from a serious illness and she thanked the staff at the specialist children’s hospital in Rome where he is receiving treatment.
The couple also have a young daughter, Greta.