Actor and former soccer player Vinnie Jones' wife, Tanya, died on Saturday, a representative for Jones said. She was 53. The representative told The Independent that Tanya died "peacefully" in the couple's home after "a long illness."
“At 8:46 am local time in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, Vinnie Jones’s wife, Tanya Jones, passed away after a long illness,” the statement read. “Tanya passed peacefully at the Jones family home surrounded by Vinnie, their daughter and other family members.”
The statement continued, “Vinnie and the family ask for privacy while they go through an understandable period of mourning during this devastating time.”
Condolences started to pour in on social media over the weekend, including one from former boxer Frank Bruno.
“I’m very saddened to hear the news of Vinnie Jones wife Tanya passing away. My thoughts are with Vinnie & his family at this difficult time," Bruno tweeted.
Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter that Tanya died from cancer. "Such desperately sad news that Tanya Jones has lost her long battle against cancer, aged just 53. She was a delightful woman, and a truly courageous fighter. My deepest condolences to Vinnie & all the family. RIP Tanya," Morgan wrote.
Several football clubs that Jones played for also offered their condolences to the athlete.
Everyone at Wimbledon wishes to extend their deepest sympathies to our former player, Vinnie Jones, following the tragic death of his wife, Tanya. Our condolences also go out to Vinnie's family at this terrible time.— AFC Wimbledon (@AFCWimbledon) July 7, 2019
Our thoughts are with former Blue Vinnie Jones following today’s very sad news. pic.twitter.com/SibuIoHIVI— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 7, 2019
Tanya and Vinnie, who first met when they were 12, married in 1994 and had one child together, son Aaron Elliston Jones, 28.
“We had a brief date when we were 16, then she went her way, and I went my way,” Vinnie told The Guardian in 2012. “I was away in Leeds, then I came back and signed with Chelsea. I had two of the football lads living with me and one of them looked out the window and said, ‘Wahey, look at this!'”
The Arrow star continued, “Tanya was rollerskating outside and I went, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe it!’ She was just getting divorced, so it was all meant to be. Do I believe in fate? It’s all very spooky. I was living in Leeds, then Sheffield, then moved back into my house after four or five years and she was living next-door-but-one. That’s got to be something.”
He said that Tanya had to have an emergency heart transplant before they got married. “We’d been together for two years when I went to her dad and said I wanted to marry her and he said, ‘You know what you’re taking on?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I do know and I’m going to take care of her and look after her.'”
“I feel she was saved to save me, and I was meant to look after her,” he added.
Despite Tanya's health problems, the couple has "tried to live a normal life, and sometimes if we overdo it we think, 'Ooh, we've got to steady up,'" Vinnie said. "But we don't wrap her up in cotton wool. We haven't got time to think about 'what if' and 'what about.' We make the most of life."
"We've been through a lot, so I just want her to enjoy life and for us to grow old together."