Bucharest (AFP) – Cameroonian international Patrick Ekeng, who died last week playing for his club Dinamo Bucharest, was suffering from “serious heart problems”, autopsy results revealed on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old collapsed to the ground seven minutes after coming on as a substitute in a Romanian league game against Viitorul Constanta last Friday.
He was rushed to hospital where staff were unable to resuscitate him.
The Bucharest Forensic Institute reported in a statement that he suffered from cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart) resulting from a left ventricular hypertrophy, and had several coronary abnormalities,
“He had serious heart problems,” coroner Abdo Salem told Romanian news agency Agerpres.
Ekeng underwent routine medical tests when he joined the Romanian club in January but they failed to detect anything untoward.
“All the tests involving him were normal,” and showed that the player was fit to practice sport at a high level, Simona Nanoveanu, asistant director of Bucharest’s national sporting medical institute, told Hotnews.
In tribute to the player Dinamo have retired Ekeng’s number 14 shirt and have said they will present the Romanian Cup trophy to Ekeng’s family should they beat CFR Cluj in the May 17 final.
Before arriving in Romania, Ekeng played for several European clubs, spending four seasons with French Ligue 2 side Le Mans from 2009 to 2013.
The player from Yaounde then transferred to Lausanne in Switzerland from 2013-2014 and Spanish side Cordoba from 2014-2015 before joining Dinamo.
Ekeng made his debut for Cameroon in January 2015 and was named in the squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations from which the Indomitable Lions were eliminated in the group stage.
His death echoed that of his countryman Marc-Vivien Foe, who died of a heart attack in 2003 playing a Confederations Cup match against Colombia at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France.
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