A World Cup pundit learnt her mother was killed in a road accident while on air covering a game.
Nadia Nadim, who was born in Afghanistan but plays football for Denmark’s national team, was working for ITV in Qatar when she heard the news.
The former Manchester City forward was covering the goalless draw between Denmark and Tunisia when she was informed her mother died in an accident with a digger.
She was absent from the panel at the final whistle, with presenter Mark Pougatch telling viewers that she had been forced to leave.Half of Afghanistan in dire need of aid before harsh winter under Taliban rule, says ICRC
Nadim, who fled Afghanistan at the age of 11 after the Taliban killed her father, discovered her love of football at a refugee camp in Denmark.
She said on Twitter that her mother was killed "on her way back from the gym".
"Words cannot describe what I'm feeling. I have lost the most important person in my life and it happened so sudden and unexpected. She was only 57," she said.
"She was a warrior who had fought for every inch of her life.
"She didn't give me life once but twice, and everything I/we are is because of her.
"I have lost my home and I know nothing's gonna ever feel the same. Life is unfair and I don't understand why her and why this way. I love you and I will see you again."
Police in Denmark confirmed the mother of five was hit by a digger from behind near her home in Uldum, about 250km west of Copenhagen.
Duty manager told Torben Wind told Danish publication Horsens Folkeblad it appeared the crash happened when the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming lorry.
Nadim fled Afghanistan in 2000 with her mother and four sisters after her army general father was executed by the Taliban.
The family sold their possessions to fund the escape.
"Before the war, I have very fond memories of the country, of our life, the safe environment," Nadim said previously.
"I had my mum and dad. And then I have the second part, which is the war, and after my dad was killed.
"Those memories are not nice memories, a lot of chaos, a lot of just horror.
"At the end, things were made very hard for us as a family to function and to see a future or feel safe."
Last year, she said it was “heartbreaking” to watch the Taliban return to power.
"I know what kind of rules they bring in and I know what that means for the future of the country, what that means for the development of the country, what it means for the women, and the girls," she said.
"I think that's a real step back. I feel very upset and sad for the people who live in the country."
An ITV spokesman said: "Everyone at ITV, those working with Nadia in Qatar and the wider company, are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic news.
"We have offered Nadia our support and our thoughts are with her and those closest to her at this incredibly difficult time."