Belgian club Sporting Lokeren have confirmed that Gregory Mertens died of a heart failure. The 24-year-old defender had collapsed in the first half of a reserve-team match against Genk on Monday and was given CPR on the field.
Fans and teammates had watched in horror, praying, as the medical teams tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes. He was later rushed to hospital and put on life-support, but even then the reports were not positive. Mertens had even passed all pre-season health tests required by UEFA and was also one of the fittest players at Sporting Lokeren.
A club spokesman had said on Wednesday: “We are waiting for the worst news to come.” Mertens had been in coma since the incident.
The club have now confirmed everyone’s worst fears and said he passed away on Thursday evening in a statement. The statement said: “The medical staff have done everything to save Gregory, but they finally had to acknowledge their impotence.
“Gregory passed away at around 16:30.”
The tweet reads: “With sadness we inform you the loss of Gregory Mertens. We wish the family and friends all strength.”
Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here