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Emotional Conte hails 'fantastic guy' Astori after player's death

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)

A visibly shaken Antonio Conte paid an emotional tribute to Davide Astori, describing the 31-year-old who died suddenly on Sunday as "a fantastic guy".

Conte, who coached the Fiorentina defender when he was in charge of the Italian national team, said the player's death, due to a suspected heart attack, was a "tragedy".

"This is a tragedy and it really hurts me. It's very difficult at this moment to find the right words for the family," Chelsea coach Conte told Sky Sports ahead of his team's Premier League match at Manchester City on Sunday.

"I had him with the national team. He was a great player but especially a fantastic guy. I stay close to his wife, parents and daughter. He was only 31 and it's very difficult to explain this situation."

Astori, who played 14 times for Italy, was found dead in his hotel room in Udine on Sunday morning where his team had been due to play Udinese in Serie A.

The game as well as the rest of the top-flight programme was cancelled as a mark of respect.

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