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Daughter of former-Barcelona and Spain manager Luis Enrique dies aged nine just five months after be

The nine-year-old daughter of former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has died after a five-month battle with cancer.

Enrique, 49, paid tribute to Xana in a heartbreaking post on Thursday afternoon, describing her as 'the star that guides our family'.

Xana had fought osteosarcoma - or bone cancer - for 'five intense months', the Spaniard revealed on

Luis Enrique announced the death of daughter Xana, pictured together after Barcelona won the Champions League in 2015, at the age of nine

Enrique, 49, paid tribute to Xana on his Twitter, describing her as 'the star that guides our family'. Here, they beam with joy as they play together after the 2015 Champions League final

Daddy's girl: Enrique revealed his family's heartache but thanked those who sent well wishes

Xana was the youngest of three children born to Enrique and wife Elena Cullell. The couple also have a 19-year-old son named Pacho and an 18-year-old daughter, Sira.

Enrique, who also coached the Spanish national team, thanked those who had sent well wishes over recent months and medical staff for their 'dedication'.

In a statement from his official account, he wrote: 'Our daughter Xana has passed away this afternoon at the age of 9, after fighting for 5 intense months against osteosarcoma.

'We thank you for all the love received during these months and we appreciate the discretion and understanding.

'Also, we thank the staff of the Sant Joan de Deu and Sant Pau hospitals for their dedication and treatment, to the medical nurses and all the volunteers.

'With a special mention to the team of palliative priests of Sant Joan de Deu. We will miss you very much but we will remember you every day of our lives in the hope that in the future we will meet again.

'You will be the star that guides our family. Rest Xanita. Martinez Cullell family.'

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was among those to pay tribute to Xana, writing on Twitter: 'There are no words that that can go along with this pain.

'My heartfelt wishes to Luis Enrique and all his family, after the loss of his little Xana.'

Tributes have also poured in from across the world of football, with Enrique's ex-clubs Roma and Barcelona, as well as his former players, expressing their sympathies online.

Luis Suarez, who played under him at Barcelona, wrote: 'Moment of much pain and sadness. Rest in peace XANITA. A lot of strength Luis Enrique, Elena and family!'

Spain and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea said he was left 'speechless' by the youngster's death.

Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal said he 'cannot imagine the pain of the family'.

Osteosarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer that develops in growing bones.

The cause of the cancer is unknown but it is thought to be related to rapid bone growth, such as adolescence, making it most common in teenagers and young adults.

Enrique was forced to quit the Spain in job after just a year in charge due to his daughter's illness.

Enrique with son Pacho, 19, wife Elena Cullell, daughter Sira, 18, and Xana on a family holiday in 2015

The Spaniard with wife Elena Cullell in June 2017 at the height of his success at Barcelona

Read more from Daily Mail

My view: It's so tragic and heartbreaking, those pictures of him and his beautiful daughter, so sad.

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