Rio Ferdinand’s mum Janice St Fort died aged 58, after losing her battle with cancer.
Who was Janice St Fort?
Janice’s maiden name was Lavender, she was one of six children who grew up in south-east London.
She began dating Julian Ferdinand, who was from St Lucia, as a teenager and they later had two children together, Rio and Anton. Both Rio and Anton went on to become professional footballers with West Ham.
Janice and Julian lived on a council estate in Peckham but they never married.
They later spilt up and Janice eventually married Peter St Fort, with whom she had another child, Sian.
Rio previously hailed Janice as a “supermum” and said she “cooked and cleaned, and moved heaven and Earth to ensure my younger brother Anton and I got to school or youth clubs on time”.
In an interview with The Guardian in November 2014 Rio spoke of his admiration for his mother.
He said: “Mum was only 17 when she had me, but she was a strong girl.
Rio also spoke about the racism she faced when dating Rio’s dad adding: “Mum and Dad’s story would make a film. When they were dating, passers-by would spit on Mum because she was walking out with a black guy.”
How did Janice St Fort die?
Janice was just 58 when she passed away in July 2017 after a battle with cancer.
A statement issued by Rio, Anton and the family described Mrs St Fort as a “devoted mother” and “an inspiration”.
“We are heartbroken to announce that our amazing mum Janice passed away today after an ongoing battle with cancer,” said the statement.
“She was an inspiration to us all and was loved by everyone who knew her. She died at Guy’s Cancer Unit, London Bridge Hospital, with her loving husband Peter and us, her four children, at her bedside.
“She was a devoted mother to us all, and she was the most incredible grandmother to our children.
“The whole family are devastated. Our mum was the centre and the heart of our family and has supported us all through many difficult times, always with a smile on her face. Her strength and courage, as well as her great sense of humour and immense kindness, were never-ending.
“We would like to thank all the staff at Guy’s Cancer Unit for looking after our mum so well during her illness especially Marta and Joanna as well as everyone who has sent kind wishes to us all during this difficult time.”