RANGERS legend Fernando Ricksen died just a day before his heartbroken wife was expected to be back at his bedside, it has been revealed.

Veronika, 33, had planned to fly in from the family's home in Spain to continue her vigil at her husband's bedside in the hospice in Airdrie - but she tragically did not make it on time.

The Scottish Sun reports that the mum-of-one, who has a daughter Isabella, 7, with the footballing star, received a phone call explaining her husband had passed away at around 10.30 am yesterday.

Vincent de Vries, the ex-Ibrox captain's biographer, and a friend told the newspaper: "Veronika called me this morning after hearing the news.

“She was flying in tomorrow. She was one day too late.

"She just said ‘one day too late, one day too late’ when I spoke to her on the phone.

"She was crying because she lost her husband and the dad of her daughter. It’s very painful for her.

“I lost a close friend but for Veronika it was so much more.”

READ MORE: Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen has died

Glasgow Times:

Fernando lost his long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) at just 43 years old. 

He was forced to spend his final months at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie after taking ill at a fundraising event which was held in Glasgow last October. 

Before his death, he wanted to return to Valencia where he has set up the family home with his Russian wife Veronika and their daughter but his illness made that impossible.

Vincent added: "We knew this day would come but it’s really shocking to get the call.

"I think it’s a relief for Fernando that it’s finally over — despite wanting to be the first to beat that disease. It became tougher and tougher for him. The last two weeks have been terrible for him. He couldn’t communicate anymore and that was the last thing he had.

“He was ready for it I think. It’s very cruel to be like that in a bed. Now he can rest.”

He continued: "I think he was waiting to die at the end. Veronika and Isabella was all that was keeping him going.”

READ MORE: Fernando Ricksen's friend 'heartbroken' for his girl as funeral fundraiser hits £4k

We reported earlier that family friend Pauline Glen, 56, has set up a fundraising drive for the family.