Cameroonian footballer Patrick Ekeng dies after suspected heart attack during match

Cameroonian international Patrick Ekeng is lifted from the pitch to be transported at hospital after he collapsed during football match between Dinamo Bucharest and Viitorul Constanta in Bucharest on May 6, 2016. © Alexandru Dobre
Dinamo Bucharest and Cameroon midfielder Patrick Ekeng has died after collapsing during a league match in Romania, with the 26-year-old suffering a suspected heart attack.

The former Le Mans, Lausanne and Cordoba player was introduced as a second-half substitute during Dinamo’s clash with Viitorul Constanta on Friday night and fell to the ground in the 70th minute.

Ekeng had been on the pitch for only seven minutes before being rushed to an ambulance at the stadium and to a nearby hospital, where two hours later he was pronounced dead.

Local media suggest that the Cameroon international had suffered a heart attack.

The game was broadcast live on Romanian television.

The news comes as a hammer blow to the African nation’s sporting community.

Ekeng’s compatriot Marc-Vivian Foe also suffered the same fate, after collapsing while representing his country in the Confederations Cup in 2003.

It is believed that there was no specialist equipment in the ambulance at the Stadionul Dinamo, with the vehicle used purely to transport Ekeng to Floreasca Emergency Hospital.

Dinamo fans streamed to surround the hospital and await updates on the midfielder’s condition, while the sporting community has reacted with sadness at the news of Ekeng’s death.

The news was posted on Dinamo’s Facebook page while a host of his former clubs, teammates and members of the footballing fraternity have taken to social media to express their sympathy at what has happened.

“Dinamo tonight lost footballer Claude Patrick Ekeng forever,” his club’s statement reads.

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

Ekeng joined the Romanian side from Cordoba in January and had become a firm favorite with fans after scoring against Dinamo’s cross-city rivals Steaua Bucharest in a cup clash last month.

Dinamo Bucharest has suffered tragedies before. In October 2000, club captain Catalin Hildan collapsed and died during a friendly game.

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