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Francisco Garcia death: Spanish football coach dies from coronavirus aged 21

Malaga-based club Atletico Portada Alta confirmed the death of their junior team coach after he learned he had leukaemia

Jack de Menezes
Monday 16 March 2020 15:20 GMT
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A 21-year-old Spanish football coach has died from coronavirus, having been suffering from a form of leukaemia.

Francisco Garcia, a youth team coach at Malaga-based club Atletico Portada Alta, had an unknown pre-existing health condition that resulted in him being more vulnerable to the virus than usual for an individual of his age, though he was only informed of having cancer after going to hospital with symptoms of coronavirus.

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According to Spanish newspaper Malaga Hoy, Garcia was advised to seek further medical help after struggling to breathe, and was told that he had both coronavirus and pneumonia.

However, he was also told that he had leukaemia, which increased the level of risk that he was exposed to after contracting the virus.

Infectious disease experts said that had Garcia not been suffering from leukaemia, he would likely have survived the bout of coronavirus.

A club statement read: "We want to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and close friends of our coach Francisco Garcia who has left us, unfortunately.

"Now what do we do without you, Francis?

"How are we going to continue conquering ... in the league? We don't know how, but we will surely do it for you.

"We will not forget you, rest in peace, phenomenon. Until forever."

Garcia had been training with Atletico Portada Alta for four years and was coach of the junior team, with club president Pep Bueno paying tribute to him after revealing how quickly his condition declined.

Bueno said: "Francisco was a great guy and a very talented coach. We are all still shocked.

"The hospital rang me at 7pm on Sunday to say his condition had stabilised, but then an hour later because of the coronavirus and (cancer) ... I do not believe it. It seems impossible to me."

It’s understood that Garcia is possibly the youngest victim of the coronavirus outbreak. The youngest individual to die in Italy - the worst-hit European nation - is a 38-year-old man who died last week, while China’s youngest victim is a 36-year-old male.

Nearly 300 people have died from the Covid-19 outbreak in Spain where there are more than 8,000 positive cases, with Garcia the fifth person to pass away in the Malaga region. All four other victims were all at least 70 years old.

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