Rio Ferdinand’s late wife Rebecca Ellison: When did she die and what of? Inside her heartbreaking battle

10 February 2020, 20:00 | Updated: 10 February 2020, 20:01

Rebecca Ellison and Rio Ferdinand got married in 2009
Rebecca Ellison and Rio Ferdinand got married in 2009. Picture: PA

Rebecca Ellison tragically passed away after a battle with cancer in 2015.

Rio and Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily airs on BBC One tonight, and it tells the story of the newlywed couple's journey that has seen Kate Ferdinand become stepmum to his three kids - sons Lorenz, 13, and Tate, 11, and eight-year-old daughter, Tia.

Read more: Kate Ferdinand reveals she didn't feel 'accepted' by Rio's family when they got together

The childrens' mum Rebecca Ellison tragically passed away of breast cancer in 2015.

Rebecca tragically passed away in 2015
Rebecca tragically passed away in 2015. Picture: PA

Who was Rebecca Ellison and when did she get together with Rio?

Rebecca was a fitness trainer from Essex, who later trained as an accountant. She met Rio in the late 1990s while he was playing for West Ham. The couple got married in 2009.

She gave birth to Lorenz in 2006, and Tate was born in 2009. The couple then welcomed daughter Tia in 2011.

Rebecca and Rio share three children together
Rebecca and Rio share three children together. Picture: PA

When did Rebecca die of breast cancer?

Rebecca tragically died of breast cancer in 2015 when she was 34 years old.

Rio announced that she had passed away in a statement reading: "My soul mate slipped away last night.

"Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Read more: Kate Ferdinand admits she 'cried every day for a year’ after moving in with husband Rio

"She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter.

"She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration."

Rio later wrote in his autobiography: "I no longer have days when all I can do is cancel my plans and curl up in a ball.

"It is only nights that can still undo me. I usually wake up between 2-3am, when the horror of what my children have lost hits me again, keeping me awake until dawn."

Read more: Rio Ferdinand feared he'd 'never be happy again' following tragic death of wife Rebecca Ellison

When did Rio meet Kate and when is their documentary on BBC One?

Rio and Kate began dating in 2017, and announced their engagement in 2018. The couple got married last year in Turkey. They both star together in new BBC documentary Rio and Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily, which airs on BBC One at 9PM on 10 February.