(Reuters) – Former Spain coach Luis Enrique has announced the death of his nine-year-old daughter Xana following a battle with cancer.
Luis Enrique quit his role with the national team in June to spend time with his daughter, who lost her five-month fight against the disease on Thursday.
“Our daughter Xana passed away this afternoon aged nine after fighting for five intense months with osteosarcoma (bone cancer),” he said in a statement.
“We want to say thanks for all the shows of warmth received over the past few months and we appreciate the discretion and comprehension shown.
“We also want to thank the staff at the Sant Joan de Deu and Sant Pau hospital for their dedication and treatment, to the doctors, nurses and all the volunteers. With a special mention to the palliative care team at Sant Joan de Deu.
“We will miss you a lot but we will remember you every day of our lives with the hope that one day in the future we will meet again. You will be the star that guides our family. Rest (in peace) Xanita.”
Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of Barcelona where Luis Enrique won two Liga titles both as a player and coach and spent 11 years in all, sent condolences on behalf of the Catalan club.
“All of our support and compassion goes to Luis Enrique, his wife and all of his family at this particularly painful time,” Bartomeu said in a tweet.
“All the Barca family are touched by the loss of Xana. Our condolences and all our sympathy for the Martinez Cullell family.”
Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer and is most prevalent in teenagers and young adults.
(This story corrects hospitals to hospital in para 5)
(Reporting by Nick Said; additional reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Ken Ferris)