Cape Town - The family of Anthony Foley have issued a statement expressing their "deepest appreciation" for the support they have received since Sunday.
Munster legend Foley, 42, was found dead in his Paris hotel room on the morning of his team's Champions Cup opener against Racing 92.
The rugby world has since been in a state of shock and mourning for the inspirational former Ireland number eight, with the family saying they have been "plunged into incomprehensible darkness" after his passing.
"The family of Anthony Foley wishes to extend its deepest appreciation to the endless legions of friends and the wider rugby family here and abroad for the huge outpouring of support and sympathy since Anthony’s tragic and most untimely passing at the weekend," read the statement.
"With Anthony’s passing, we have ultimately lost an amazing, adoring and loving father and husband; an equally caring, loyal and devoted son and brother; a central and go-to figure for the wider Foley and Hogan families. Our anguish at the sudden loss of Anthony is bottomless. We have been plunged deep into an incomprehensible darkness and sense of loss that we must work our way through over the coming days, weeks, months and years.
"We know, too, that his sudden death has brought the rugby worlds of Shannon RFC, Munster, Ireland and much further afield crashing down. You have lost a former player, coach, friend and all-round inspiration – your and our hero both. We mourn his loss together.
"We again wish to thank everyone for their support; it will help carry us through these darkest days.
"With regard to media, we thank you also for the sensitive way in which you have paid tribute to Anthony since the weekend but we do ask that our privacy and that of his close friends be respected over this tragic period."