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Former Newcastle Jets midfielder Bernardo Ribeiro dies during match

Bernardo Ribeiro
Bernardo Ribeiro, right, played six games for the Newcastle Jets during the 2012-13 A-League season.

Past and present Newcastle players have paid tribute to former Jets teammate Bernardo Ribeiro, who died after falling ill during a match in Brazil.

Local media reported the 26-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder was playing a friendly for Friburguense over the weekend when he had to be replaced.

He was taken to hospital, where he died soon after.

Ribeiro is the second football star in three days to have died from suspected heart problems, after Cameroon international midfielder Patrick Ekeng died on Friday after collapsing on the pitch during a match for Dinamo Bucharest in Romania.

The causes of both deaths are yet to be officially determined.

Ribeiro made six appearances for the Jets during the 2012-13 A-League season alongside former England striker Emile Heskey.

Before that the long-time Flamengo youth product spent a season with Albanian outfit Skenderbeu Korce, and later had a stint with Finnish side IFK Mariehamn before returning to Brazil to play with Inter de Lages.

The Jets joined Ribeiro's former teammates in paying respects to the popular player on social media.

"Just heard some Devastating news regarding my good friend @bernardoribeiro R.I.P brother. The world has lost an amazing individual on & off the field," Michael Bridges wrote on Instagram.

"Bernardo Ribeiro. I'm so deeply saddened that you're no longer with us. My prayers go out to your family and friends. RIP my brother," Mark Birighitti posted on his Instagram alongside a photo of the pair together.

Ribeiro's wife Katie, from Maitland, posted a long tribute to her late husband on Facebook.

The pair married in February.

"The pain I feel today is like nothing I have ever felt in my life, it's unbearable, a part of me is gone," she wrote.

"I can't believe, I don't want to believe but the realness cannot be ignored.

"Tonight heaven received the most beautiful angel. My best friend, my husband, my everything."

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