Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro dies of suspected heart attack after being taken ill during game
Former Newcastle Jets attacking midfielder Bernardo Ribeiro has died from suspected heart problems in his native Brazil.
The 26-year-old is the second player in two days to die after falling ill during a match, following the death of Dinamo Bucharest’s Patrick Ekeng during a Romanian league fixture on Friday.
Ribeiro was playing for Friburguense in the Rio State Championship on Saturday when he was suddenly taken ill and substituted, according to Brazilian news outlet O Globo.
He reportedly suffered a suspected heart attack in hospital, though the cause of the player’s death is yet to be confirmed.
"The Nova Friburgo sport is in mourning,” Ribeiro’s club said in a statement.
“The Friburguense Atlético Clube says goodbye to a great athlete and human being, loved by all the players, coaching staff, management and employees of the club.
“The deepest feelings of Frizao family to all families Bernardo Ribeiro," it added.
Michael Bridges, the former Sunderland and Leeds United striker who played with Ribeiro briefly at the Australian A-League’s Jets, was one of several former team-mates to pay tribute on social media.
Just heard some Devastating news regarding my good friend bernardoribeiro— Michael Bridges (@MickyBridges8) May 8, 2016
Bernardo Ribeiro. I'm so deeply saddened that you're no longer with us. My prayers go out to… https://t.co/QlBDVlC8HG— Mark Birighitti (@MarkBirraz) May 8, 2016
Having progressed through Flamengo's youth rank in his homeland and spending a short time in Italian side Catania's academy, Ribeiro started his professional career at Skënderbeu in Albania in 2011.
The attacking midfielder signed for the Jets in 2012, where he made six appearances, before moving on to IFK Mariehamn in Finland. Ribeiro made a total of 32 appearances for the club over the course of two seasons before returning to Brazil, and the Veikkausliiga side paid tribute to their former player on Facebook.
Ribeiro subsequently signed for Inter de Lages in his homeland before moving to Friburguense.
Independent News Service