Romanian club Dinamo Bucharest and Cameroonian international Patrick Ekeng has died after collapsing on the pitch during a league match against Viitorul Constanta.
The 26-year-old defensive midfielder fell to the ground at the 70th minute, without any contact with another player just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Ekeng, was rushed to the nearby Floreasca Emergency Hospital, in an ambulance where staff were unable to resuscitate him, but pronounced him dead two hours after his collapse.
Though the cause of his death still remains a mystery, local media reported that he suffered a heart attack. The match was tied at 3-3 and was being televised live in Romania.
Fans of the Bucharest club gathered outside the hospital late into the night to express their grief at the player’s death.
Club executive director and former player Ionel Danciulescu said; “I can’t believe it. It’s a nightmare. For me, for the team and for all Dinamo supporters. It’s too much.”
A statement on Dinamo’s official Facebook page read: “Dinamo tonight lost footballer Claude Patrick Ekeng forever. On behalf of all of Dinamo, sincere condolences to the bereaved family. God rest his soul.”
The player who joined the Romanian club in January, was making his seventh league appearance. He had scored his first goal for the club in last month’s Romanian Cup semi-final, against their city rivals, Steaua Bucharest.
Patrick Ekeng had previously played in Europe for Le Mans, Lausanne and Córdoba and had seven senior caps for Cameroon.
He made his debut for Cameroon in January 2015 and was named in the squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations where Cameroon was eliminated in the group stage.
In October 2000, the then captain of Dinamo Bucharest, Catalin Hildan, collapsed and died during a friendly game. In 2003, Cameroonian international midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe died after collapsing during a Confederations Cup match against Colombia in France.
May his soul rest in peace!