Cameroon's Patrick Ekeng dies after collapsing in Dinamo Bucharest game
BUCHAREST, Romania -- Cameroon international Patrick Ekeng died after he collapsed during a match with Dinamo Bucharest in the Romanian capital on Friday, doctors said. He was 26.
Cristian Pandrea, a spokesman for the Floreasca Emeregency Hospital, said doctors tried for an hour to resuscitate the midfielder but failed. He said the cause of death was not known. Local media said he had a heart attack.
The home match between Dinamo and Viitorul Constanta was being broadcast live when midfielder Ekeng fell to the ground in the 69th minute, seven minutes after he went on as a substitute.
Fans and some officials have criticized what they claimed were delays in treating Ekeng on the pitch and in taking him by ambulance to the nearby hospital.
Players and staff could be seen crying as events unfolded. Some went with him to the hospital.
A statement on Dinamo's official Facebook page said: "Dinamo tonight lost footballer Claude Patrick Ekeng Ekeng forever. On behalf of all of Dinamo, sincere condolences to the bereaved family. God rest his soul."
He has played for Spanish club Cordoba, Swiss club Lausanne, and French club Le Mans. He made two appearances in friendlies for Cameroon in January 2015.
"At moments like this, words seem insufficient,'' FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Saturday. "Messages I've read online from teammates, his club in Romania, and former teams, show just how highly Patrick was regarded.
"I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends, and particularly to the staff, players and fans of Dinamo Bucharest, and the Cameroon national team.''
Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), said "it is extremely difficult to find words to understand such a brutal tragedy."
Ekeng is survived by a wife and daughter, who are in Paris. Prosport.ro reported he was due to fly to Paris after the Romanian Cup final on Tuesday between Dinamo and CFR Cluj. Local media reported his wife will arrive in Romania on Saturday.
Romania's football federation said on Saturday the cup final would be put back a week to May 17.
In October 2000, Dinamo captain Catalin Hildan collapsed and died during a friendly. Marc-Vivien Foe died after collapsing while playing for Cameroon at the 2003 Confederations Cup.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.