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Italian Soccer Star, Davide Astori Dies in His Sleep, Aged 31

Davide Astori, who played 14 times for Italy’s national soccer team, was found dead in his hotel room in Udine, Italy, on Sunday. He was 31.

Astori, a defender and captain of the Fiorentina team, was discovered by team staff members when he failed to show up for breakfast. The team was scheduled to play in Udine later in the day.

“The belief is that the player died of a cardiac arrest by natural causes,” the Udine prosecutor, Antonio De Nicolo, said. “It is strange that such a thing should happen to a professional who is so closely monitored without there being any warning signs.”

Italian soccer has more stringent rules and tests than many other countries, with professional athletes in Italy required to undergo certain examinations every six months.

“Risk of sudden death goes right down with all the checks, but you can’t avoid it completely,” said Carlo Tranquilli, a specialist in sports medicine and a former doctor for Italy’s under-21 team for 18 years.

Astori was born on Jan. 7, 1987, in San Giovanni Bianco, Italy.

Survivors include his wife, Francesca Fioretti; their 2-year-old daughter, Vittoria; and his parents.

In Florence, fans attached scarves, flowers and messages to the gates of the team’s stadium, while banners paying tribute to him were put up outside several other stadiums.

Diego Lopez, who played and coached Astori at the Sardinian club and is the coach of the Caligari team, had to receive medical treatment after learning the news, as did Carlos Sanchez, who is on loan from Fiorentina at Espanyol.

“I’m shocked, it’s an absurd tragedy,” said Giovanni Malago, the president of Italy’s national Olympic committee. “The football world is deeply affected by what has happened.’’

Astori made his Italian debut in 2011 and played at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, where he scored against Uruguay.

Astori started out in the Milan youth academy.

He spent six years at the Sardinian club before being lent to Roma and Fiorentina, where he was signed on a permanent basis in 2016.


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