British newspapers carried detailed reports of how players, led by former captain Lee Cattermole, went to club owner Ellis Short to demand his dismissal after an angry showdown with the mercurial manager.
In an angry exchange after Saturday's 3-0 Premier League defeat at West Bromwich Albion, players told Di Canio on Sunday they would no longer play for him, with the Italian telling them to go to the owner if they wanted him sacked.
Short then fired Di Canio by telephone, with the announcement of his departure made on Sunday night.
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson complained last week that constant public criticism from Di Canio "could kill players' confidence".
According to the media reports, Di Canio prohibited any familiarity between the players and staff and even banned tomato ketchup and sweet desserts from the club canteen.
Sunderland's former manager Steve Bruce told Talksport radio on Monday: "You cannot manage in the Premier League these days through a fear factor.
"You've got to be able to manage individuals. Man-management has become more relevant in my experience than coaching.
"Once you get yourself in the Premier League, they're all good players and you've got to find a way of getting it out of them."
Former Swindon Town chief executive Nick Watkins described Di Canio's tenure at the League One club as "management by hand grenade" after the Italian quit in March.
Di Canio was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.