Ricky Bibey: ex-Wigan Warriors star found dead in Florence hotel, tributes paid by clubs
Wigan Warriors are among the clubs paying tribute to their former colleague following his death in Italy.
Bibey was reportedly found dead in his room at the four-star Hotel Continentale in Florence, Italy on Saturday morning after staff alerted the police.
He was said to have arrived on Friday with a 43-year-old woman, thought to be his partner, who is being treated at the city’s Careggi hospital after she was found alongside him with serious injuries.
Italian newspaper La Nazione said that the man found dead was Bibey, who was a rugby league professional for more than a decade until he retired in 2012 due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Bibey is reported to have worked as an estate agent in the years following his retirement, and had previously run a development company.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) did not confirm reports of the man’s identity.
An FCDO spokesperson said on Saturday: “We are in touch with the Italian police following the death of a British man in Florence.”
Local media reported the couple were ‘both owners of a real estate buying company that often led them to come to Italy’.
The news has shocked the rugby league world.
“Wigan Warriors are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former prop forward, Ricky Bibey,” tweeted the Warriors. “Between 2001-2003, Ricky played 42 games for Wigan and was part of the 2002 Challenge Cup winning squad. We send our condolences to Ricky’s family and friends at this sad time.”
St Helens tweeted: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Saint Ricky Bibey. Ricky played 21 times for us and was part of the 2004 @TheChallengeCup winning squad that defeated Wigan. All our thoughts are with Ricky’s friends and family at this terrible time.”
Wakefield tweeted: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of former prop-forward Ricky Bibey, aged 40. Ricky played for Trinity between 2007 and 2009, making 60 appearances. We send our condolences to Ricky’s family and friends at this tough time.”
Leigh tweeted: “We are desperately saddened to learn of the passing of their popular former prop forward Ricky Bibey (HN#1211) while on holiday in Italy. Ricky was only 40 years of age. Everyone at the club sends sincere condolences to his family and friends at this time.”
Leeds tweeted: “Sad news this morning of the untimely death of former Wigan, Saints, Wakefield and Leigh player Ricky Bibey, are thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.”
Widnes tweeted: “We would like to send our deepest condolences to the friends and family of former Rugby League player Ricky Bibey, who has sadly passed away aged just 40. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with them at this time.”