The former footballer opened up about losing his wife, Rebecca Ellison, to breast cancer at the very young age of 35.
In the candid BBC documentary that aired last night, Rio shared his journey through grief, rounding off the one hour special by saying Rebecca 'would be looking down and saying well done'.
The programme moved many viewers to tears, who took to social media to praise Rio for his honest account of his grieving process and helping his three young children to cope.
'Such a raw, honest and loving documentary #BeingMumAndDad well done @rioferdy5 you gave yourself to that', wrote TV presenter Gabby Logan.
'Drowning in my own tears - Heartbreaking yet totally inspirational! Bereavement is one of the loneliest experiences #BeingMumAndDad', another viewer added.
Rio lost his wife Rebecca in 2015
'#BeingMumAndDad is really raw, compelling, inspiring, heartbreaking and all round tear-jerking', another said on social media.
'#BeingMumAndDad is really pulling at my heartstrings, big respect for @rioferdy5 for coming out and doing this.'
'#BeingMumAndDad with @rioferdy5 is an incredibly hard watch but what a brilliant programme'.
'This a truly honest and touching portrayal of effects of grief. Massive amount of respect to @rioferdy5 & others involved #BeingMumAndDad'
Some fans even said his contribution to the documentary would have more impact than his high profile career as a footballer.
'In many ways, Rio will have more impact with this than any kick on a football field.
'It's strange seeing @rioferdy5 like this as we are used to the laugh a minute. Massive respect for doing this.'
Another fan commented 'Fantastic documentary @rioferdy5 must have been difficult filming that... inspirational! What a brave thing to do to speak so publicly and honestly about your loss,' before adding: 'Your wife would be proud.'
Rio, who was left to raise his three children by himself after his wife passed away, was also praised for being a 'strong' and 'amazing' father.
'Absolutely heart breaking watching #BeingMumAndDad @rioferdy5 what a strong and amazing father you are to your beautiful children,' one said.
'My heart is absolutely breaking for Rio. I can't even imagine what experiencing pain like that is like, life is so cruel!!'
His celebrity friends also took to social media to comment on the documentary, including sports personalities and comedians John Bishop and Russell Brand.
Russell wrote: '@rioferdy5 what a beautiful film. A tribute to the power of honest communication. Well done mate.'
Total respect to @rioferdy5 for his documentary tonight on BBC1. Moving and informative and something that will help others I am sure— John Bishop (@JohnBishop100) March 28, 2017
'Total respect to @rioferdy5 for his documentary tonight on BBC1. Moving and informative and something that will help others I am sure', John Bishop added on Twitter.
TV presenter Stephen Mulhern tweeted: 'Just want to say @rioferdy5 full respect to you and your family for a documentary that will help so many people. Lots of love and thanks x'
Actor Will Mellor commented: 'Massive respect @rioferdy5! It's so hard to deal with a loss and you are doing an amazing job with your children mate! #BeingMumAndDad'
Did you watch Rio's documentary last night? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!