(LifeSiteNews) — A Belgian goalkeeper died suddenly earlier this month after mysteriously collapsing on the pitch in the middle of a game.
Arne Espeel, 25, had saved a penalty kick for his team, Winkel Sport B, against Westrozebeke on February 11 right before falling to the ground. Reports indicate that medical personnel were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive him on the field with a defibrillator. Espeel was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Arne had been with the club all his life and was very loved,” Winkel sporting director Patrick Rotsaert told Belgian media, per the New York Post. “He was a wonderfully sympathetic boy, always in a good mood and ready to help. This is really a heavy blow. First of all for his family and also our whole club.”
According to TMZ, over 1,000 fans, family members, and friends participated in a walk of silence for Espeel in Sint-Eloois-Winkel, the Belgian town in West Flanders province where the game took place.
“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning by the sudden death of Arne Espeel,” read an official club statement translated by Reuters. “We wish family and friends of Arne our heartfelt condolences in this heavy loss. Football is an afterthought.”
The cause of Espeel’s death is not yet known, though an autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.
Another athlete who recently died suddenly at age 25 was Jesse Lemonier, a former NFL linebacker. No cause of death has been publicly reported.
In January, the brother of a mixed martial artist who died suddenly at 37 speculated about the role of the experimental COVID vaccine in his death last September, noting that he had been jabbed approximately two weeks before he was found dead at his home.