Thousands gather for Fernando Ricksen’s funeral after Rangers legend died aged 43 from motor neurone disease

Thousands gather for Fernando Ricksen’s funeral after Rangers legend died aged 43 from motor neurone disease

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THOUSANDS of fans have today lined the streets to bid farewell to Fernando Ricksen.

The Rangers legend tragically died last week aged just 43 after battling motor-neurone disease for six years.

Fernando Ricksen pictured for the final time with his wife and daughter just two weeks before he passed away
Mourners line the streets to farewell Fernando Ricksen
Mourners line the streets to farewell Fernando Ricksen
Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow

And mourners donned red, white and blue as a funeral cortege made its way through the streets to Wellington Church in Glasgow this afternoon.

A private family ceremony will then be held at the Linn Crematorium on the city’s south side.

The world of football and beyond have united in grief for the ex-Netherlands international who fought his condition with such courage.

He had broken down as he revealed his diagnosis in 2013, sobbing: “I’m fighting for my life.”

But over the next six years he defied medics.

Tragically the once athletic man lost his ability to perform even simple tasks like tying his shoelaces.

The disease forced him to speak to his family through a Stephen Hawking-style computer.

He lived in Valencia until he fell ill last year during an Ibrox bash and was deemed too ill to fly back to Spain.

Instead, he was moved to St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie where he was cared for until his death on September 18.

Fans wore red, white and blue to remember the legend
Fans wore red, white and blue to remember the legend
Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow
The Rangers thanked fans for their support after the legend's death
The Rangers thanked fans for their support after the legend’s death
Kenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow

What is motor neurone disease?

Motor neurone disease is a rare condition.

About two in every 100,000 Brits develop it each year.

It affects specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the function of motor neurons to break down.

When this neurodegeneration occurs, everyday activities become increasingly difficult or completely impossible.

Over time, the condition progressively worsens as the muscle weakens and can visibly waste.

The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are given a three-year life expectancy starting from when they first notice the symptoms.

A statement from Rangers read: “The funeral cortege will make its way to Ibrox Stadium, for 1pm where it will stop briefly outside the stadium front door to allow fans to pay their respects from the opposite side of the road.

“The procession will come down Broomloan Road and proceed along Edmiston Drive driving east before heading to the Clyde Arc bridge, and on to the church.

“The cortege will then proceed to Wellington Church for the funeral at 2pm, before a private, family service at Linn Crematorium is held.

“The family would like to thank everyone who has paid their respects to Fernando over the last week, it has been a source of comfort at a very difficult time.”

Ricksen began his career at Fortuna Sittard in Holland, before a move to AZ Alkmaar where he made almost 100 appearances for the club.

He won the Eredivise title in 1998, with the Gers swooping in two years later.


Famed for his big personality on and off the pitch, Ricksen was a key member of a Rangers side which went toe-to-toe with Celtic every year for domestic honours at the turn of the Millennium.

But he did occasionally go too far, infamously pushing then Rangers chairman John McClelland into a swimming pool before a match against Panathinaikos in 2003.

He hung up his boots in 2013 having won 13 caps for Holland and the same number of major trophies in a glittering career.

The former Holland international lost a six-year battle with motor neurone disease
Twitter @broxi63
Defender Ricksen enjoyed a glittering career at the Ibrox side and has gained legendary status among fans
News Group Newspapers Ltd
The Dutch ace was loved by fans at Ibrox
The Dutch ace was loved by fans at Ibrox
PA:Empics Sport
A legend with Scottish giants Rangers, the Dutch star helped the Gers win two league titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups in the early 2000s
A legend with Scottish giants Rangers, the Dutch star helped the Gers win two league titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups in the early 2000s
Reuters

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