— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 7, 2017
Andy Cole has undergone a kidney transplant in his long-standing fight against serious illness.
The 45-year-old former Manchester United, Newcastle United and England striker underwent surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary as part of his treatment for Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, a condition that causes scarring of the kidneys.
Cole will now take a break from his role as a Manchester United ambassador while he recovers from the surgery.
A statement released by United on behalf of Cole read: “Andrew and his family would like to thank the club and fans for their support and request that he can continue with his treatment in private and ask that their privacy is respected.”
In an interview last year, Cole was notably frustrated when claimed he would be “delighted” if his kidney got back to “70-80 per cent” but deterioration in his condition for the last 12 months has forced the need for a transplant.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is scar tissue in the filtering unit of the kidney. More than half of those with the condition eventually develop chronic kidney failure within 10 years.
Cole won five Premier League titles with Manchester United and was a key member of the treble-winning team of 1998/99, when he enjoyed a formidable strike partnership with Dwight Yorke to help the club win the title, Champions League and FA Cup.
He netted 121 goals in 275 matches for United after his move from Newcastle in 1995 and is the third highest scorer in Premier League history with 187 goals, behind Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney. Cole played for as many as 12 clubs in his career while making 15 appearances for England.