A family friend of tragic Fernando Ricksen says she “can’t imagine” what his young daughter is going through.

Pauline Glen, 56, who knew the Rangers legend for nearly 20 years, made the comments as she opened up on her devastation at his loss.

The footballing world was in mourning yesterday as news broke of the Dutchman’s death at the age of just 43.

He passed away after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) after being diagnosed of the debilitating illness in 2013.

“The news this morning was hard to take – I got a call at 9am to say there was no changes, then an hour later I saw online that he had passed away,” said Pauline.

Glasgow Times: Tributes outside Ibrox to Fernando RicksenTributes outside Ibrox to Fernando Ricksen

READ MORE: Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen dies aged 43

“I’ve been greeting all day. I went to Ibrox to lay some flowers – my own little tribute – but I haven’t stopped crying really.”

Last year, Ricksen was admitted to St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie where he was cared for until his passing.

Pauline, from Govan, set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help Fernando’s wife, Veronika, and seven-year-old daughter Isabella, with travel costs to and from the hospice and their home in Spain.

Now, she hopes the page can be used towards giving the Ibrox legend “a fitting tribute” by covering any funeral costs.

She said: “We set up the fundraiser initially because we wanted to help Veronika in every way we can.

“Even if people donate just £1, it all adds up – Fernando needs a fitting tribute.”

The family friend also said her “heart breaks” for little Isabella.

Glasgow Times: Fernando Ricksen passed away after a six-year battle with MNDFernando Ricksen passed away after a six-year battle with MND

READ MORE: Rangers and Celtic fans visit Ibrox to pay tribute to Fernando Ricksen

She added: “I can’t think what his little girl is going through. She loved him so much and had so much energy for him.

“And he loved her back. He always made sure she was ok, he through a surprise party for her in the hospice.

“My heart breaks for her – at her age she might be able to understand and cope a bit better but I really don’t know. He was her total hero.”

Pauline last saw Ricksen at a birthday party held for the footballer inside the hospice back in July.

But as his condition continued to deteriorate, Pauline she that “proud” Ricksen didn’t want her to see him as much.

You can view the fundraiser here.