Dinamo Bucharest and Cameroon international footballer Patrick Ekeng has died after collapsing on the pitch during a league match in the Romanian capital.
The 26-year-old midfielder had come on as a substitute only a few minutes earlier during Friday’s match against Viitorul Constanta, which was live on TV at the time.
He was rushed to hospital where doctors were unable to revive him, as dozens of fans gathered outside.
A heart attack is suspected but has not been confirmed.
Some unconfirmed reports have suggested that the player did not receive proper professional first aid at the stadium. Hospital staff are said to have made such claims, which have been denied by the club’s doctor. Police are reported to have begun an inquiry.
The Romanian Football Federation cancelled all weekend fixtures following Ekeng’s death, with local media reporting that an investigation had been launched.
Patrick Ekeng: matches postponed and inquiry into death launched https://t.co/OWMb7ViROk via
guardian_sport</a></p>— The Guardian (guardian) 7 May 2016
Ekeng, who had a wife and daughter, also played for Cordoba CF, Swiss club Lausanne, and French club Le Mans.
In 2003 another Cameroonian star Marc-Vivien Foe died while playing in an international match. In October 2000, Dinamo Bucharest’s captain Catalin Hildan also collapsed and died during a friendly.
Our cameroon football family has lost a brother. I cannot believe this. Condolences to his family. RIP Patrick Ekeng pic.twitter.com/lFRRrs4uhR— Stephane Mbia (@StephaneMbia) 6 May 2016
Sad day for football… RIP Patrick Ekeng. pic.twitter.com/OsH4pHfrkN— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) 6 May 2016