German footballer Andreas Biermann, who campaigned for greater awareness of depression in football, has committed suicide following a long battle with the illness.
"Andreas has killed himself. We are all shocked and deeply saddened," Gunter Hagedorn , CEO of his club, the Spandau Kickers, told Bild.
The former Hertha Berlin and St. Pauli defender, 33, made his struggles public after the death of Robert Enke in 2009.
"It's a tragedy," Biermann's former teammate at Union Berlin Torsten Mattuschka said. "How desperate must he have been to do that, when he was a father with a family? It's hard to imagine."
Biermann was one of only a few footballers to respond to the suicide of the former Germany international goalkeeper by going public with his own problems.
After seeking professional help he wrote a book -- Rote Karte Depression ['Show depression the red card'] -- about the illness.
He started to study psychology and vowed to help others in his same situation, only he was unable to overcome his own battle with the illness.
"I still have suicidal thoughts and feel very bad," he said via his Facebook page just over two years ago, after revealing he had attempted for the third time to take his life.
However, his decision to go public about his illness appeared to cause fresh problems. He was not offered a new contract by Union Berlin and was unable to find another club willing to employ him.
The stigmas attached to depression continue to thrive, he wrote in his book, and that is why nobody was willing to offer him work.
"It's dramatic for my family," he said. "People at the club made me many promises to begin with, but later they did not keep them."