Former Arsenal Defender and Assistant Manager Pat Rice is in Hospital Receiving Treatment for Cancer

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By Rachelle Corpuz | November 29, 2013 10:20 AM EST

Two and a half years after retiring from football, former Arsenal defender and Arsene Wenger's assistant manager Pat Rice was taken to the hospital after he was diagnosed with cancer, reported BBC.

"We can sadly confirm that Pat Rice is in the hospital receiving treatment for cancer, everyone at the Arsenal Football Club sends him best wishes, our thoughts are with Pat and his family," Arsenal said in a statement.

Supports and prayers from fans started overflowing upon hearing the sad news. The hashtag #GetWellSoonPat started trending  at Twitter. Some celebrities also expressed their compassion on Rice's battle with cancer.

"Very, very sorry to hear about Pat Rice's fight with cancer, lovely man, and one of the great legends in Arsenal history," Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter.

"Thinking of Pat and his family, I know how strong he is," Jack Wilshere also wrote on Twitter.

On Thursday, Arsene Wenger spoke of his high regard and reverence for Rice. "We are in touch with Pat but I trust his legendary strengths to get over that," said Wenger. "Not only do we love him but we are appreciative of what he has done for the club," added Wenger.

As a player, Rice has made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal and over a hundred for Watford. He has also won 49 caps for Northern Ireland. When he retired from playing, he joined Arsenal as a youth team coach in 1984 before serving as Wenger's assistant manager. He has played a key role in helping Arsenal triumph in the 1990s and 2000s, especially the Doubles in 1997-1998 and 2001-2002.

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Rice was selected Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

We wish Pat all the best and may he gather all the strength to overcome and fight the disease.

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