Viewers have praised Rio Ferdinand's emotional BBC documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, saying the former footballer is "incredibly brave" for tackling issues of grief and raising his children alone.

The former Manchester United player opened up about his wife Rebecca Ellison, who died in May 2015 aged 34 after a battle with breast cancer, leaving him a widow with three young children to raise.

"I love my wife more than anything," he said. "Me and Rebecca, we had an unbelievable relationship."

The heartbreaking documentary resonated with viewers as Ferdinand embarked on a journey to get advice about loss, grief and moving on and how to honour Rebecca's memory with their children, Lorenz, 10, Tate, eight and Tia, five.

The sports star broke down in tears when he said he worried about his two sons, who he struggled to talk to about their feelings about their mother's death.

He said: "I worry about all of them but I just can't get anything out of the two boys. I want to help them and for them to be able to talk so I know they're alright, as I don't know right now. They talk about memories, but I don't hear feelings."

After talking to other widowers and health care professionals, the 38-year-old said he managed to "switch it from dark to bright"

Ferdinand started a memory jar that acts as a conduit for the children and himself to talk about Rebecca. 

He said: "It kind of opened everything up and it was a beautiful moment just seeing them talk happily and being joyful about their mum rather than it being sad and negative moments."

Rio Ferdinand's emotional documentary resonated with viewers

The highly-emotional documentary struck a chord with viewers who took to social media to praise Ferdinand for his bravery and honesty.