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Florence turns purple as Italy mourns death of Azzurri star Davide Astori

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Thousands of mourners gathered in Florence on Thursday for the funeral of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori who passed away suddenly from a suspected cardiac arrest on Sunday. He was 31.

Astori’s coffin arrived at Basilica di Santa Croce in a white Maserati hearse and was greeted with a rousing applause from the Viola faithful gathered outside the church. The square turned purple as fans raised Fiorentina flags and scarves in the defender’s honor.

Many of the biggest names in Italian football were present to pay homage to Astori, including his Fiorentina teammates, and Italy and Juventus legends Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, who had just beaten Tottenham in Wembley Stadium to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League the previous night.

Speaking after the game, an emotional Chiellini dedicated the win to Astori. “We dedicate this win to him but not only this match. I cry many times, I always believe in him because he was a fantastic player,” he said.

Astori is survived by his partner Francesca Fioretti, and their two-year-old daughter. On Sunday Buffon addressed the infant in an eloquent Instagram post saying that she “deserves to know that her father was in all respects a perfect person, a great perfect person.”

Ciao caro Asto, difficilmente ho espresso pubblicamente un pensiero riguardo una persona, perché ho sempre lasciato che la bellezza e l'unicità di rapporti, di reciproca stima e affetto, non venissero strumentalizzati o gettati in pasto a chi non ha la delicatezza per rispettare certi legami. Nel tuo caso, sento di fare un'eccezione alla mia regola, perché hai una moglie giovane e dei familiari che staranno soffrendo,ma soprattutto la tua piccola bimba, merita di sapere che il suo papà era a tutti gli effetti una PERSONA PERBENE…..una GRANDE PERSONA PERBENE….eri l'espressione migliore di un mondo antico, superato, nel quale valori come l'altruismo, l'eleganza, l'educazione e il rispetto verso il prossimo, la facevano da padroni. Complimenti davvero, sei stata una delle migliori figure sportive nella quale mi sono imbattuto. R.I.P. Il tuo folle Gigi.

A post shared by Gianluigi Buffon (@gianluigibuffon) on

Astori began his career at AC Milan before moving to Cagliari. He ended up at Fiorentina by way of Roma, spending three years at the heart of the Viola defense and becoming their captain.

He was also capped 14 times by the Italian national side, scoring one goal.

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