A NORTHERN Ireland family is in mourning today after waking up to the heartbreaking new their has tragically died in France.
Darren Rodgers – affectionately known to his friends as ‘Dardar’ – was from Ballymena, Co Antrim.
The 25-year-old fell eight metres to his death in the early hours of this morning from a promenade walkway in Nice onto a rocky beach.
The tragic news has rocked the Northern Ireland team and their legions of fans who have travelled to Nice to watch them in action.
The death came just hours after Northern Ireland were beaten 1-0 by Poland in their opening game.
The new was broken as the players and fans prepared to leave Nice and head to Lyon for their next crunch game against Ukraine.
Northern Ireland player Gareth McAuley tweeted this morning: “You think things are bad then learn one of your own loses his life last night.
“Thoughts with family and friends.”
That was echoed by Captain Steve David who tweeted: “So sad to wake up to the tragic news that a Northern Ireland fan has died in Nice.
“Thoughts with his family and friends.”
Striker Kyle Lafferty also tweeted his shock at what he described as the “devastating news”.
“Devastating news iv woke up to. My thoughts are with the young mans family and friends.
“We’ve lost one of our own. RIP”
Friends have been paying tribute to him on Facebook saying he “always had a smile”.
One friend posted: “Can’t believe what I’m hearing this morning. Such a shock to hear that someone you’ve known since first year of school has tragically lost their lives in such a horrible accident.
“Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Darren Rodgers right now.”