Arsenal legend Ian Wright had to leave ITV's FA Cup coverage at half-time after being told his mother had died 30 seconds before he went back on air.
The pundit, 58, was covering Rochdale and Plymouth Argyle's second round clash on Saturday when he received the devastating news.
Nesta, who brought him up in Brockley, south London, passed away aged 94.
Wright has previously spoken about his difficult upbringing by his mother and abusive stepfather, but revealed in BBC documentary Home Truths that he had since made peace with her.
Ian Wright, 58, (middle) was covering Rochdale and Plymouth Argyle's second round clash on Saturday when he received the devastating news his mother Nesta (left) had died. They are pictured in 2002 while Wright was receiving his MBE. On the right is his then wife Debbie
A friend told The Sun: 'Ian would be the first to admit he had a difficult relationship with his mum, but hearing your own flesh and blood has passed away is never easy. It's upsetting news to hear for anyone.
'He was told just before he went back on air at half time, and wanted to be with his family, which ITV obviously totally understood.
'He left the ground immediately to be with them.'
Fellow presenter Mark Pougatch announced Wright had had to leave his presenting duties be with his family after learning of the passing of a relative.
Before the match, he had been introduced to a Rochdale fan also called Ian Wright.
'Mr Ian Wright doing lots of selfies today but this one was a little different though because you were actually talking to Ian Wright!' said Pougatch.
Wright responded: 'I've wanted to meet him all my life. He said it's been a nightmare for him for 31 years being called it!'
'So good they named him twice!' Pougatch added.
Wright (seen on Saturday) has previously spoken about his difficult upbringing by his mother and abusive stepfather, but revealed in BBC documentary Home Truths that he had since made peace with her
In an interview to promote his hard-hitting documentary, Home Truths, Wright told how he suffered 'Guantanamo-style' abuse at the hands of his violent stepfather - who made him face the wall whenever his beloved Match Of The Day came on TV.
He would go on to overcome deprivation and an abusive home life to become a professional footballer.
Wright also had a spell in prison - for non-payment of driving fines - before being signed by Crystal Palace and later Arsenal.
He would go on to score more than 200 top-flight goals, while winning 33 England and scoring nine goals for the national side.
And after retiring from the game in 2000, Wright would forge a career as a tough-talking pundit for TalkSport and later ITV and the BBC - as well as a memorable appearance on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
Wright, who was awarded an MBE in 2002 for services to football, is now a regular guest pundit on Match of the Day.
Wright as a young boy. He went on to become an Arsenal and England legend, before beginning a successful career as a pundit