Miki Roque passes away

Defender was diagnosed with cancer in March 2011

Miki Roque: Former Liverpool defender has passed away at the age of 23 after battling cancer

Former Liverpool youngster and Real Betis defender Miki Roque has died at the age of 23 following a long battle against cancer.

Roque was diagnosed with cancer in March 2011 and he underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his pelvis.

However, it was confirmed on Sunday evening that Roque has passed away.

A statement on Betis' official website read: "The Real Betis player Miquel Roque Farrero, Miki Roque, had died today at the Instituto Dexeus de Barcelona hospital at the age of 23.

"Miki Roque had been battling pelvic cancer since March 2011, a struggle that he fought with fortitude and determination.

"Real Betis send their deepest condolences to the Roque family."

Roque moved to Liverpool in 2005 and he was part of the club's FA Youth Cup winning team during the 2005/06 season.

The following campaign he made his only first-team appearance for the Reds, coming on as a substitute in a UEFA Champions League tie against Galatasaray.

He undertook loan spells at Oldham Athletic, Xerez and Cartagena before being released by Liverpool in 2009.

Betis offered Roque the chance to kick-start his career in their reserve side before he was promoted to first-team duty.

A Liverpool statement read: "Liverpool Football Club was today saddened to hear news that former player Miki Roque has lost his battle with cancer aged 23.

"Everyone at Liverpool Football Club would like to send their thoughts to Miki's family at this sad time."