Belgian footballer tragically passes away, aged 28

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Belgian footballer Miguel Van Damme has passed away at the age of 28 after a long battle with leukaemia. The goalkeeper for Cercle Brugge was first diagnosed with the illness back in 2016, but after bravely fighting it off twice, it was deemed incurable when it appeared for the third time. 

Van Damme joined Cercle Brugge back in 2013 as a youth player and has played for the Belgian club ever since, making 40 appearances in goal, whilst battling the disease for over five years.

Tributes have been pouring in this morning, with Cercle Brugge penning a heartfelt message to their goalkeeper. The Belgian side said, via the Daily Mail:

‘It is with great sadness that we report that our friend and teammate Miguel Van Damme has fought his long and unfair battle against leukaemia.

‘Words are not enough to describe what we feel, even though we knew that things had not gone well for a while.

‘Today is an extremely difficult day in the almost 123-year history of Cercle Brugge.

‘Our thoughts go in the first place to his wife Kyana, his daughter Camille, Miguel’s parents, his sister Francesca but also to his many friends and family.

‘Miguel, your perseverance and strength to go for it (again) over and over, setback after setback, was admirable.

‘You are an example of positivism, persistence and fighting spirit. A source of inspiration for everyone who fights.

‘Forever in our green-black heart, #16.’

Van Damme leaves behind his wife and daughter Camille, who was just born in May last year.

Although Van Damme might not have been the biggest name in world football, it is sad to see a player taken so young, with Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas among those to pay tribute to him on Twitter this morning.

Real Madrid and Belgium ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois also tweeted about the sad news, saying: “An example of fighting spirit, you’re doing well up there! RIP miguel”

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