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By ESPN Staff

Germany stunned by Enke suicide

Germans have reacted with shock and disbelief after national team 'keeper Robert Enke's apparent suicide at a train crossing near Hannover on Tuesday night. The national team have called off their friendly with Chile this weekend as tributes to the goalkeeper flood in.

• Uli on depression in football
• Police confirm death of Enke

According to Lower Saxony police the 32-year-old Hannover 96 'keeper was hit by a train at a crossing early on Tuesday evening and left a suicide note. Fellow players, coaches and fans have been stunned by the news of his death.

Fans flocked to Hannover's Niedersachsen Stadion where they were laying flowers and lighting candles at the gates in memory of their captain who had dedicated himself to the club since joining in 2004.

Hundreds of fans also gathered to light candles outside the Hannover 96 offices after learning of Enke's death. Hannover fan Florian Walter told Reuters Television outside the club offices: "This is a shock. He was an exceptional footballer. He was intelligent, educated, was very engaged with social projects in Hannover."

Schalke 04 striker Kevin Kuranyi said: "This can and must not be true. Robert was a fantastic guy" and Hamburg SV captain David Jarolim told Bild newspaper he was devastated. "I can hardly breathe. This is a real tragedy, first his daughter and then this."

Enke's two-year-old daughter died in 2006 due to a heart ailment, her death triggering an outpouring of sympathy for the family at the time.

"I am endlessly saddened by this," former Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer said. "When you receive such news all other things do not matter."

Enke, who was in the running to be Germany's starting goalkeeper at next year's World Cup in South Africa, had been at Hannover since 2004.

"This is terrible. I am not able at the moment to express myself in more detail," said Hannover 96 sports director Joerg Schmadtke, while chairman Martin Kind said: "I don't know why and how this happened. All I can say for sure is that it had nothing to do with football."

Tenerife, for whom Enke played on loan as a youngster, also paid tribute to their former player. "Tenerife want to convey their condolences and sympathy following the recent death of the German goalkeeper Robert Enke, who played for the team during the 2003-04 season," the club said on its website. "Tenerife will have a minute's silence in the next game against Sevilla at the estadio Helidoro Rodriguez Lopez and will wear black armbands.''

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