Florentina captain Davide Astori has died in his sleep ahead of their Serie A fixture against Udinese on Sunday.
The 31-year-old central defender had 14 international caps with Italy, and was a member of the squad that played in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Before joining Florentina, he previously played for Milan, Cagliari and Roma.
All of Sunday’s Serie A fixtures have been postponed as a mark of respect.
Reports from Italy said his team-mates broke down his door when Astori failed to come down for breakfast or answer his phone.
‘The lad did not turn up to the team breakfast at 9.30am and he was usually the first to arrive,’ said Fiorentina spokesman Arturo Mastronardi.
‘So they went to check on him. Davide was sleeping in a room on his own. We still don’t know the cause of death. The Magistrate came here and the body has been taken for an autopsy, which I think will be conducted today. We have no further details.
‘The last to see Davide was Marco Sportiello. Some players sleep in single rooms, some in doubles.
‘His family is from Bergamo, so his parents were alerted by telephone, whereas his partner was visited in person in Florence by some of the directors who were in the city.
‘The team will return to Florence today with a charter plane.’
The deceased is survived by his wife Francesca and two-year-old daughter.