Distraught pals have been paying tribute to Darren since news of his death broke
Darren Rodgers, 24, from Ballymena, Co Antrim, was reportedly on his own when he fell around eight metres from a promenade onto a rocky beach. A young Northern Ireland fan who died at Euro 2016 after a fall in Nice has been described as a “true gentleman”.
His distraught pals have been paying tribute to Darren since news of his death broke.
Posting on his Facebook page, one friend said: “Just heard awful news.
“Darren Rodgers you were the nicest fella, and will be missed by so many.
“Thoughts and prayers to your family, to get them through this horrible tough time. Why does things happen to the best of people.”
Another friend described him as “such a down to earth guy”, reports the Irish Mirror.
Tributes to Northern Ireland fan who is first supporter to die at Euro 2016 after promenade fall
The tribute read: “So sad to see someone so close from home had to sadly pass away in nice last night, can’t believe it.
“Was such a down-to-earth guy and would never walk pass without a chat. Terrible news to wake up to.
“Darren Rodgers to think I was only talking to you on Saturday night on snapchat and now you have been taken away from everyone. All you wanted was to go to France and support your country like everyone else. Rest easy.”
Known to his friends as Dar Dar, the Ballymena man was a former football player for local club Wakehurst FC.
The club said: “It is with great sadness that today we learned of the untimely passing of another former player.
“Darren Rodgers, aged just 25, played for the Strollers until 2012 and leaves us following a tragic accident whilst supporting Northern Ireland in France.
“We would like to pass on our most sincere condolences to his family and friends at this tragic time.”
Mr Rodgers was well-known in local football circles and played for Braid United FC.
Clough Rangers have offered their sympathy to his family.
“Clough Rangers F.C. extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Darren Rodgers who was involved in a tragic accident in France whilst supporting Northern Ireland.
“Darren played for Braid United and was well known to many of our players, some of whom he played with in the past.
“The GAWA have arranged a minute’s applause in honour of Darren for the 24th minute of Thursday’s game in Lyon.”
Republic of Ireland fans are also trying to arrange a minute’s applause for Darren in the 24th minute of today’s match against Sweden.
Boxing star Carl Frampton also took to Twitter to pay tribute after the news.
Very sad to hear about the Northern Ireland fan who fell and died in Nice last night
— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) June 13, 2016
Mr Rodgers was taken to Nice hospital following the accident, but later died.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed that a man from Northern Ireland had died in Nice.
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis who also hails from Ballymena, led the tributes to the young fan.
So sad to wake up to the tragic news that a Northern Ireland fan has died in Nice, thoughts with his family and friends.
— Steven Davis (@StevenDavis8) June 13, 2016
He 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.”
The Irish FA have also offered their condolences to Mr Rodger’s family.
They said: “The thoughts of everyone at the IFA are with the family of the Northern Ireland supporter who tragically passed away in Nice last night.”
Fellow Northern Ireland fans out in France have vowed to pay tribute to Darren during the Ukraine game on Thursday.
Supporters groups have asked fans to join in a minutes applause for Darren during the game.
Ulster Northern Ireland supporters club posted on Facebook: “Our Club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Darren Rodgers here in Nice.
“We had great craic with Darren on the train from Paris to Nice and he was so proud to be here, supporting our wee country.”