Arsenal legend Ian Wright was covering Rochdale and Plymouth Argyle’s FA Cup tie for ITV on Sunday and learned that his mother had died just 30 seconds before going live on air
Mother Nesta, who was 94, raised Wright in Brockley, south London.
Having been in his usual buoyant mood during the first half of the match, presenter Mark Pougatch informed the audience of the Gunners icon’s early departure during the break.
“Ian, I’m afraid is not [with us],” Pougatch said. “A family bereavement, so he has gone to where he is most needed – with his family.”
The former England forward appeared alongside ex-Rochdale striker Grant Holt at the Crown Oil Arena, with Plymouth scoring a late goal to send them into the third round.
Wright retired from playing in 2000 but remains a regular on football coverage in the UK.
A staple of BBC’s Match of the Day punditry team, he also works for ITV to cover England and the FA Cup.
And Wright has even recently branched out into hosting a game show, with Moneyball being shown on ITV on Saturday nights.
Sunday’s game in Lancashire saw Plymouth claim a hard-earned victory against their League Two hosts in a closely-fought contest.
Ryan Lowe’s men took the lead in the first half through Jordon Garrick’s header.
But Rochdale rallied in the second period and their efforts were rewarded when Aaron Morley hit a long-range strike just before the hour mark to make it 1-1.
With a replay on the south coast looking more than likely, Argyle snatched a win through Luke Jephcott, who fired home to book their place in round three.
The Green Army, who had made the long trip up from Devon in the early hours of Sunday morning, will be hoping to handed a Premier League team at the next stage.
Non-league side Yeovil Town are also in the hat thanks to their 1-0 victory over League Two side Stevenage on Saturday night.
Wright was on FA Cup punditry duty for ITV
On Sunday, 2013 winners Wigan Athletic overcame Colchester United 2-1.