Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan McLoughlin has revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer.
The 53-year old released a detailed statement on Thursday, outlining the issues he's been facing over recent months and, indeed, years.
First diagnosed with a kidney tumour in 2012, McLoughlin says cancer spread to his kidney, chest wall and lung by November 2019.
The ex-Swindon Town and Portsmouth player says a tumour was discovered in his vertebrae earlier this year and he underwent surgery three-weeks ago to have it removed.
Such was the nature of the procedure that McLoughlin had to have a cage to support his neck. He is back home and awaiting radiotherapy treatment on his neck, allied with medication.
McLoughlin's name will forever be tethered to Windsor Park on November 17, 1993. His volleyed goal 12-minutes from time against Northern Ireland secured the Republic of Ireland a place at the following year's World Cup in the United States.
He was part of Jack Charlton's squad in the USA, but never made it off the bench in any of Ireland's four matches there.
McLoughlin was initially called into the Ireland squad just ahead of Italia '90, replacing Gary Waddock. He became the first player to make their Ireland debut at a World Cup, replacing John Aldridge in the 1-1 draw with England in Cagliari.
He'd go onto win 43 Ireland caps, with that goal against Northern Ireland only one of two occasions he found the net at international level.
Since ending his playing days, McLoughlin has been involved in coaching at former clubs Portsmouth and Swindon.
He's also performed extensive media work, including several co-commentary stints on Off The Ball.
Alan McLoughlin statement:
In light of questions about my situation, and some incorrect information being circulated, I feel it necessary to clarify some of my circumstances.
I am currently living with renal cell carcinoma.
It is probably best to briefly explain the sequence of events. I was first diagnosed with a kidney tumour in September 2012, as was publicised at the time. That was removed, and I then went on a drug trial, although they didn't find enough evidence that the trial was successful.
In November 2019, I was given more bad news, that the cancer had spread to my remaining kidney, into my chest wall and my lung. I underwent immunotherapy that unfortunately didn't work, and I was in hospital several days due to side effects that affected my kidney.
That did get resolved, and I started taking another drug, a once-a-day tablet called Cabozantinib. This had a positive effect, as all three tumours were shrinking. I went for a scan in January 2021, and things looked stable.
Unfortunately, the scan didn't go beyond my thorax, so it missed a tumour growing in my vertebrae. It was only when I began to feel a pinched nerve in my shoulder that I realised there was another issue.
I ended up being rushed to hospital in Swindon with a fractured neck, as the tumour had caused my vertebrae to crumble.
Three weeks ago, I had an operation in John Radcliffe Hospital to try and take out as much of the tumour as possible, and to build a cage to support my neck. That was successful and I am currently back home, about to go on radiotherapy treatment for my neck as well as a new programme of medication. So I hope that goes well.
Thanks for your time, as I just wanted to clarify my circumstances. I would appreciate if my privacy could be respected in the meantine, but I will be available to speak again in due course.