FORMER Hearts midfielder Stefano Salvatori has died aged 49. 

The Italian spent three years at Tynecastle between 1996 and 1999 and was part of the Scottish Cup-winning side of 1998.

Born in Rome, Salvatori came through the AC Milan youth system and had spells at the likes of Parma, Fiorentina and Atalanta before arriving in Scotland.

He scored three goals in 84 games for the Jam Tarts and the capital club has paid tribute to a man who earned  ‘legendary status’ during his time in Edinburgh.

A statement read: “The Italian midfielder joined Hearts in 1996 and spent three years at Tynecastle, winning the hearts of supporters with commanding displays in the middle of the park.

“He wrote his name into Hearts folklore by helping the Jambos to lift the 1998 Scottish Cup with a 2-1 win over Rangers, and in the process earning himself legendary status in Gorgie.

“The club would like to pass on its condolences to the family and friends of Stefano, and a full tribute will appear on the club website later today.”