19/12/2012 07:25 GMT | Updated 19/12/2012 09:39 GMT

Barcelona Coach Tito Vilanova Suffers Tumour Relapse

Tito Vilanova has stepped down as coach of Barcelona after he suffered a tumour relapse.

Vilanova, 44, previously suffered from cancer and had a parotid gland removed in November last year.

Barça have already contacted their first-choice candidate to replace him on an interim basis for the remainder of the season, according to reports in Spain.

The Blaugrana's regular Wednesday press conference was cancelled this morning. A further statement will be announced later today.

Vilanova was promoted from assistant to head coach in the summer after Pep Guardiola left following four trophy-laden years at Camp Nou.

Barcelona are nine points clear of second place Atlético Madrid in the Primera Liga while rivals Real Madrid are a mammoth 13 points adrift.