Belgian footballer Miguel van Damme has died at the age of 28 following a long battle with leukaemia.
Van Damme’s Belgian top-flight club, Cercle Brugge, said “words are not enough to describe what we feel” following the news on Tuesday.
The goalkeeper was first diagnosed with the disease over five years ago.
“It is with great sadness we report that our friend and team-mate Van Damme has fought his long and uneven battle against leukaemia,” the club said.
“Miguel, your perseverance and strength to go for it [again] over and over, setback after setback, was admirable.
“You are an example of positivism, persistence and fighting spirit. A source of inspiration for everyone who fights. Forever in our green-black heart, #16.”
Van Damme was initially diagnosed with leukaemia during a medical prior to the 2016-17 season, but the disease returned again in 2019 and 2020.
He and wife Kyana Dobbelaere became parents to daughter Camille last year.
Dobbelaere wrote on Instagram: “Our dearest darling, daddy left for his last match last night, a match that can no longer be won. You left us very slowly, yet you did it again in your own way… very strong.
“You fought like a lion. We are so thankful for who you were. An example for many. You have made me realise that there is no such thing as giving up, even if there was only that one small glimmer of success, time and again you got over it.
“Rest now darling you have more than earned it, you are now freed from all pain.”
The Belgian Pro League said: “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Cercle Brugge.
“Your fighting spirit has been inspiring. Rest in peace.”
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