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A Belgian soccer goalie, Arne Espeel, has died after collapsing on the pitch, just moments after saving a penalty. He was just 25 years old.
Espeel was the goalkeeper for Winkel Sport B which was playing a second provincial division of West Brabant match against Westrozebeke on Sunday. Early in the second half, the referee awarded Westrozebeke a penalty kick.
The Brussels Times reports that Espeel made the save, but then collapsed on the pitch. The match was stopped and paramedics immediately rushed to his aid. They reportedly tried to revive the goalkeeper for half an hour, though they were ultimately unsuccessful.
Emergency personnel rushed Espeel to the hospital. There, doctors officially pronounced him dead. According to reports, an autopsy was scheduled for Monday, but the results have not yet been announced.
“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning by the sudden death of Arne Espeel,” the club said in a statement. “We wish family and friends of Arne our heartfelt condolences in this heavy loss. Football is an afterthought.”
The Daily Mail reported that later in the week, the late goalie’s past and present teammates turned out to pay their respects. They gathered around the net where Espeel made his final save, some wearing his club’s jerseys.
After laying the wreaths there was a procession through the town of Sint-Eloois-Winkel in the Belgian province of West Flanders.
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