Rangers boss Steven Gerrard saw with his own eyes the suffering Fernando Ricksen was going through in his battle against motor neurone disease.

Yet the Dutchman remained an inspiration to the ex-Liverpool superstar.

The fight Ricksen put up against his debilitating illness - for six years - proved what everyone already knew.

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He died as he lived, according to Gerrard, a warrior - fighting until the end.

Aged 43, Ricksen passed away earlier this morning.

But Gerrard will remember him as a combative player who always gave his all on and off the field to prove what it meant to be a Rangers player.

Speaking today, Gerrard paid a glowing tribute.

He said: "It's very sad news for everyone connected to the club but more importantly, his young family.

"On behalf of the club I'd like to pay tribute.

"He was a fantastic player and had a decorated career.

"He played with his heart on his sleeve, he was that type.

"I think that was epitomised when he was taken ill in 2013, he was given 18 months to live at the time but he's fought ever so hard up until this point.

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"That sums up the character, a warrior type on and off the pitch.

"We send our condolences to his young family."

The manager added: "He was a fantastic ambassador and role model the way he played and handled himself off the pitch.

"I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times, recently as well, where you could see he was in pain and suffering but you could see the fight he was still putting up with.

"It's very sad news but he deserves all the accolades coming his way because he handled himself, not just as a footballer, but a human being more importantly."