Former Carlisle United captain Nick Anderton has been diagnosed with cancer, his club Bristol Rovers have announced.
The defender is suffering from osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Anderton, 26, is set to undergo an operation to remove part of the affected bone.
In a statement, Anderton - a Carlisle player from 2020-21 - said the diagnosis was a "huge shock" but that he and his family are remaining positive.
He also paid tribute to Bristol Rovers' medical staff and specialists at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham for their support.
The League One club made the announcement on Thursday evening.
Anderton, who also played for Barrow, said: "Unfortunately, this rare form of cancer which is affecting my femur means that I’ll be undergoing an operation in the coming weeks.
"This diagnosis has come as a huge shock to both myself and my family; however, we are remaining positive and hopeful.
"I want to thank everyone at Bristol Rovers, especially club doctor Ian Ferguson and head of medical Stuart Leake, the specialists at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and my family for their continued support.
"I want to wish the boys all the best for the upcoming season, starting this Saturday back at The Mem. Hopefully I can be swinging off another traffic light on Gloucester Road come May! [a reference to last season's promotion celebrations].
Bristol Rovers' chief executive Tom Gorringe added: "Everyone at Bristol Rovers shares our sympathies for Nick at this difficult time and we will do everything possible to help support Nick and his family during his recovery.
“I am sure everyone will want to show their support for Nick, which will help him immensely as he recovers.
"I would also ask that everyone shows respect for his and his family’s privacy during this time.”
Anderton made 54 appearances for Carlisle and scored four goals, and was their captain in the 2020/21 season under Chris Beech.
The former Blackpool and Accrington Stanley player had an earlier spell in Cumbria with Barrow from 2016-17.
Carlisle United have tweeted their support for their former skipper: