Former Chelsea and Reading winger Paul Canoville is critically ill after complications from emergency surgery.
The 58-year-old, who became the first black footballer to play for Chelsea in 1982, is in hospital according to a statement released by the Paul Canoville Foundation.
“We are sad to advise that our founder, Paul Canoville, is critically ill in hospital after complications set in following emergency surgery,” read the statement.
“We are aware that his many fans and followers on his social media accounts have been missing his regular posts for over two weeks now.
“We know how loved Paul is and will post updates as we get them, but ask that his family’s wish for privacy is respected and that they are not contacted by the media. The PFA are in contact with Paul’s family and being very supportive.
“Please keep Paul in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.”
Canoville made 100 appearances for Chelsea and was part of the side that achieved promotion to the First Division in the 1983-84 season.
He remains involved with the Premier League club and recently featured in a video with Callum Hudson-Odoi, in which they discussed the issue of racism in football.
Chelsea released a statement on Wednesday wishing Canoville a swift recovery.
“All at Chelsea Football Club wish Paul Canoville, our former player, a rapid recovery following the statement today from his own trust that he is critically ill in hospital,” the statement read.
“Get well soon Canners!”