Ex-Newcastle United and Sunderland striker Andrew Cole has revealed he has been suffering from kidney failure.
It comes as the former Manchester United striker has been forced to withdraw from an upcoming charity match at Old Trafford.
The 44-year-old, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during a trophy-laden spell with Manchester United, said he is not well enough to play in the UNICEF Match for Children, which will take place at Old Trafford on November 14.
Cole enjoyed a prolific spell at Newcastle between 1993 and 1995 ahead of his big move to Manchester United. He played for Sunderland later in his career, making just seven appearances in the 2007-08 season.
"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.
"I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a condition called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis."
Cole said he had spent close to three weeks in hospital undergoing a kidney biopsy and dialysis, and he is continuing on a course of steroids which has led to a slight change in his appearance.
In thanking his doctors at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, as well as his family, Cole added: "Together 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."