London - Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole is recovering after suffering kidney failure this year, he told the Premier League club's website on Wednesday.
Cole, 44, had been due to play a charity match at Old Trafford on Nov. 14 but has been forced to pull out due to his illness.
"In June of this year I suffered kidney failure, caused as a result of contracting an airborne virus and I have been under medical care ever since," Cole said in a statement.
Cole spent three weeks in hospital undergoing a kidney biopsy and has been unable to work since.
"I am on a course of medication including some very strong steroids which has led to the change in my appearance," he added.
"We have been through some dark days. However, the good news is that I am feeling better as each day passes and the consultant is hopeful that I will make a full recovery by next spring."
Cole, who won five Premier League winners' medals and the 1999 Champions League during his six years at Old Trafford, will continue in his role as a Manchester United Ambassador.
He made his name at Newcastle United before joining Manchester United in 1995 and played 15 times for England.
Cole scored 187 Premier League goals during his career, joint second on the all-time list with Wayne Rooney behind former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer.