Spain captain Olga Carmona, who scored her country’s winner in the Women’s World Cup final, was told after the game that her father had died.
Carmona, 23, scored the only goal as Spain beat England to claim the trophy.
The Real Madrid left-back’s father had been fighting a long illness and died on Friday, Reuters reported.
“I know you have been watching me tonight and that you are proud of me. Rest in peace dad,” Carmona wrote on social media.
Carmona included a picture of her kissing her winners’ medal along with the message.
She added: “And without knowing it, I had my star before the game started. I know that you have given me the strength to achieve something unique.”
A gold star is added to the shirt of the winners of a World Cup, above the national team crest, every time they win the trophy.
“The RFEF deeply regrets to announce the death of Olga Carmona’s father,” the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) wrote on social media.
“The footballer learned the sad news after the World Cup final.
“We send our most sincere embrace to Olga and her family in a moment of deep sorrow. We love you, Olga, you are Spanish soccer history.”
Carmona started five of Spain’s seven games at the World Cup.
Spanish media outlet Relevo said her family and friends decided not to tell her so she could focus on the final, with her mother and brothers arriving in Australia on Saturday to support her.
Her club Real Madrid also expressed “condolences and affection for Olga, her relatives and all her loved ones”.