Former Manchester United and England striker Andrew Cole has undergone a kidney transplant.
The news was announced by United, one of his old clubs where the 45-year-old is now an ambassador.
A statement read: “Manchester United Ambassador Andrew Cole has undergone a kidney transplant operation at Manchester Royal Infirmary as part of his treatment for a condition called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.
“During his recuperation, Andrew will be taking a break from his role as Manchester United Ambassador.
“Andrew and his family would like to thank the club and fans for their support. They also request that he can continue with his treatment in private, and ask that their privacy is respected.”
Cole suffered kidney failure in June 2014 as a result of contracting an airborne virus.
One of the side-effects of Cole’s condition, which causes scarring of the kidney and impacts on levels of protein in the body, is weight gain.
Speaking to BBC Sport in February 2016, the former Newcastle forward reflected on the issues he now faced.
“Seeing the change in my body, that has been tough, it wreaks havoc with you. You get comments like, ‘Andy Cole’s let himself go, who ate all the pies?’,” Cole said.
“I have to take it day by day. I am four months off a year and it has been tough going through this process.”
Cole won 15 caps for England and made 275 appearances for Manchester United, where he scored 121 goals and won five league titles as well as the 1999 Champions League.
The striker started his career at Arsenal and also had spells at Bristol City, Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Sunderland, Burnley and Nottingham Forest before retiring in November 2008.