Heartfelt sympathy has been expressed on social media after the tragic death of Ballymena man Darren Rodgers.
The 24-year-old Northern Ireland fan died after a fall in Nice.
He toppled eight metres (26ft) over a barrier from a promenade onto a hard pebble beach in the south coast city of Nice at around 2am this morning, police said. It is understood he was on his own at the time and had been in France for the opening fixture of Northern Ireland’s European Championship campaign against Poland.
On Facebook Alan Moore wrote: “One of kind you were Darren Rodgers always had a smile on your face anytime I seen you. Rest in peace mucker. ❤️Thought go out to his family and friends.”
And Adam Wright said: “Darren Rodgers such a warm person. Only got to know you for a season at Braid but you were so welcoming to me. Never put anything like this up before but you were a great guy. Horrible news. Thinking of your family.”
Meanwhile Bobbie-lee Mullan posted on Facebook: “Absolutely gutted to hear about this, RIP we Dar Dar❤️ thinking of his poor family, and all my Ballymena boys at this horrendous time. Xx”.
And Sam Rodgers wrote: “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 prayer are with the family and friends of Darren Rodgers right now”.
Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is famed as a landmark of the city and runs for some four miles. Below it lies a rocky beach.
It is a popular walking and cycling route and was thronged with supporters returned from the match on the city outskirts on Sunday night.
Many of the fans had congregated around the area of the Place Massena in the old part of the town.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are contacting the man’s family.
Northern Ireland player Gareth McAuley tweeted: “You think things are bad then learn one of your own loses his life last night. Thoughts with family and friends.”
Midfielder Steven Davis 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.”
Patrick Nelson, chief executive at the Irish Football Association, said: “On behalf of the board, management, players and staff of the Irish Football Association, I would like to express my deep sadness at the tragic death of a Northern Ireland supporter in Nice in the early hours of this morning.
“The thoughts of everyone at the Association are with his family and friends at this time.”