Following 12 months of testing, former Sunderland striker Marcus Stewart has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
A playing career that spanned 20 years, he amassed over 650 appearances for eight different clubs, including Bristol Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Ipswich Town, Sunderland, Bristol City, Yeovil Town and Exeter City, scoring over 250 goals.
The striker made over 100 appearances for the Black Cats, as well as helping guide the Club back to the Premier League in 2004-05.
He has since moved into coaching and management, working at Exeter City, Bristol Rovers and Walsall. Stewart is currently Head of Player Development at Yeovil Town.
Stewart said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank those closest to me for their unwavering support since my recent diagnosis.
“As I take the time to adjust, my intention is to continue to enjoy my work in football and spend time with my family.
“In the future, I would like to use my platform within football to help raise awareness around MND, but in the short-term, I would like to ask for privacy on behalf of myself and my family.”
Marcus and his wife Louise have set up a JustGiving page with all proceeds going to the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation. You can support and donate by clicking here.
For more information on MND, click here.
The thoughts of everyone at Sunderland AFC are with Marcus and his family at this time.