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Patrick Ekeng dead: Cameroon footballer dies after suffering suspected heart attack during Dinamo Bucharest match

Ekeng was playing for Dinamo in a Liga 1 match against Viitorul Constanta when he collapsed and was later pronounced dead in hospital

Jack de Menezes
Saturday 07 May 2016 08:57 BST
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Cameroon footballer Patrick Ekeng dies after collapsing during match in Romania

Tributes from the football community have been paid to Dinamo Bucharest and Cameroon footballer Patrick Ekeng after he died during a match on Friday night having suffered a suspected heart attack, aged 26.

The midfielder collapsed during Bucharest’s 3-3 Liga 1 draw with Viitorul Constanta and was taken off the pitch in an ambulance before being rushed to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

A statement released by Dinamo on their official Facebook page read: "Dinamo tonight lost footballer Claude Patrick Ekeng Ekeng forever.

Cameroon and Dinamo Bucharest footballer Patrick Ekeng has died, aged 26 (Getty)

"On behalf of all of Dinamo, sincere condolences to the bereaved family. God rest his soul."

Ekeng came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute of the match, but collapsed just seven minutes later. Romanian news outlet Digisport has reported that there was no resuscitation equipment in the ambulance that transported him to the hospital, with paramedics having to use heart massage techniques only in a bid to save his life.

A Cameroon Football Federation statement added: "What a tragedy. We have just learned of the death of our international footballer Patrick Ekeng on the field during a league match between Dinamo Bucharest and Viitorul.

Ekeng came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute but collapsed seven minutes later (AP)

"Cameroon and the great family of Cameroonian football are in mourning. Pending an official report on this tragic incident, we have lost a son and a brother.

"The president and the executive committee of Fecafoot present their sincere condolences to his family and relatives. RIP Ekeng Ekeng, RIP indomitable lion."

Dinamo player Harlem Gnohere cries following the death of teammate Ekeng (AP)

Ekeng had made two appearances for Cameroon, having made his debut in January last year against DR Congo, but despite being included in that year’s African Cup of Nations, he failed to make it onto the pitch.

He started his club career with his hometown club in Cameroon, Canon Yaounde, after coming through their youth set-up before moving to France to join Le Mans in 2009 where he went on to make 35 league appearances.

Ekeng's Dinamo Bucharest teammates pay tribute to their former colleague (AP)

Ekeng, who spent time on loan with Rodez in the French lower leagues during his stint with Le Mans, moved to Switzerland in 2013 to spend a season with Lausanne before completing a move to La Liga side Cordoba, although he was unable to prevent the club from suffering relegation in 2014/15 and he ended his contract at the end of the season before joining Dinamo in January this year.

Corboda wrote on their Twitter account: "There are no words to express our sorrow at the death of Patrick Ekeng. We mourn your loss. We will never forget you friend. RIP."

Former Queens Park Rangers midfielder and Ekeng’s Cameroonian teammate Stephane Mbia posted a picture of the two together and wrote: “Our cameroon football family has lost a brother. I cannot believe this. Condolences to his family. RIP Patrick Ekeng.”

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin posted a picture of Ekeng on his Twitter page, and called for more to be done in order to protect players around the world when it comes to identifying potentially dangerous heart problems among athletes.

A number of other tributes were made to Ekeng in social media, and his death comes 16 years after his compatriot Marc-Vivien Foe died on the pitch after suffering a heart attack during the Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia, with the former West Ham and Manchester City midfielder later found to have been suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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