A British man who was found dead in an Italian hotel room has been named as retired rugby star Ricky Bibey.
Police were called to the first floor of the Hotel Continentale in Florence after a UK citizen was found dead in his room yesterday at around 8am local time.
A woman was also rushed to hospital with suspected serious injuries.
Italian media outlet, La Nazione, reported the man found dead was Manchester-born rugby league star Bibey, 40, as his former team Wakefield Trinity paid tribute to him on Twitter.
They wrote: “Trinity 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.”
Ex-St Helens, Bradford and Great Britain star Leon Pryce also paid his own tribute on social media.
He said: “Sincere condolences to Ricky’s family.
“We played against each other since the age of about 14. Yorkshire vs Lancashire & together for England schools boys U16’s. A great lad. Absolutely devastating news.”
Bibey, whose playing career spanned over a decade from 2000, represented England and played at local clubs including Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Bibey’s former amateur club Leigh East wrote: “All at the club are saddened to hear about the death of our former junior Ricky Bibey who passed away on holiday.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
As well as Challenge Cup successes, Bibey won the Northern Rail Cup with Leigh in 2006 before retiring after his third spell with the club in 2012.
Police suspect that he may have died from a seizure or heart attack.
Investigators have asked for a post mortem examination as well as toxicology reports as forensic officers searched the hotel room.
The pair are said to have arrived at the hotel on Friday and returned in ‘high spirits’ at 2am on Saturday morning before the grim discovery was made several hours later that day.
A police source told MailOnline: “There is blood in the room and the forensic teams are working there at the moment while the woman has been taken to hospital for treatment.
“Her current condition is serious but she is stable and her injuries are not life-threatening. We hope to question her at some point in the next few hours.”
The hotel, which charges £350 a night, is popular with ‘honeymooners and those looking for a romantic weekend’, according to travel guides.
But as the horror unfolded on national television British holidaymakers could be seen looking on at the taped-off crime scene from the nearby Ponte Vecchio bridge
The UK Foreign Office said that they were in touch with Italian police following the tragedy.
A spokesperson said: “We are in touch with the Italian police following the death of a British man in Florence.”