Former rugby league player Ricky Bibby has been nominated by Italian media for the death of a British man at a hotel in Florence.
A 40-year-old woman from Manchester was reportedly found dead in his room at the 4-star Hotel Continental after staff called police on Saturday morning.
He is said to have arrived on Friday with a 43-year-old woman who appears to be his partner. She is being treated at the city’s Kareggi Hospital after being found seriously injured with him.
The Italian newspaper La Nazione said the dead man was Bibay, who played for teams such as St Helens, Wigan Warriors, Wakefield Trinity and Leigh Centurions.
We are desperately saddened to learn that the popular former prop forward Ricky Bibby (HN # 1211) died during his vacation in Italy. Ricky was only 40 years old. At this time, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to our family and friends from the club. ❤️
— Leigh Centurions (@LeighCenturions) July 17, 2022
His ex-club and teammates paid tribute to him on Sunday, and Leon Price wrote on Twitter: I played against him from about 14 years old.
“Yorkshire vs Lancashire & England School Boy Together for U16. Great Youth. Absolutely Catastrophic News. RIP Ricky.”
Lee said the team was “desperately sad” to learn of Bibey’s death “on vacation in Italy” and “everyone in the club would like to express their heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at this time. I added.
Wakefield writes: “Trinity is sad to hear that 40-year-old former prop forward Ricky Bibby has died.
“I would like to express my condolences to Ricky’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Trinity is sad to hear that 40-year-old former prop forward Ricky Bibby has died.
Ricky played for Trinity between 2007 and 2009 and played 60 times.
Condolences to Ricky’s family and friends during this difficult time. ❤ pic.twitter.com/ZAEqH5iYxo
— Wakefield Trinity (@WTrinityRL) July 17, 2022
Bibey was a professional rugby player for over a decade before retiring in 2012 due to an Achilles tendon rupture.
When he retired from sports, Lee said: “He’s a big loss to us, both in the field and around the club. Ricky had a great career and was a very good professional.”
Bibey is reported to have worked as a real estate agent for several years after his retirement and previously ran a development company.
When contacted by PA’s correspondent, police in Florence and hotel staff were unable to provide information about the incident, and the Foreign, Commonwealth of the United Kingdom (FCDO) did not confirm the man’s identity report.
“We are in contact with Italian police after the death of a British man in Florence,” a spokesperson for FCDO said on Saturday.