Player dies of heart failure

Frank Dalleres
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A BELGIAN footballer has died of heart failure at the age of 24, three days after collapsing during a reserve team match.

Lokeren defender Gregory Mertens had been on a life-support machine, which his family opted to switch off yesterday after doctors gave him little chance of survival.

Mertens’ “modesty made him an indispensable person,” Lokeren said.

Former Belgium Under-21 international Mertens played against Premier League side Hull in this season’s Europa League.

Details of his heart condition have not been established, but he passed all pre-season health checks stipulated by European chiefs Uefa.