Footballers who died on the pitch: Soccer players who lost their lives during a match

Footballers who died on the pitch: Soccer players who lost their lives during a match

Kevin Omuya
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM

Football consistently provides us with life-changing moments, triumphs, and happiness. But it also contains poignant and sombre scenes at times. Here is a rundown of some of the most tragic football-related deaths in recent history. Footballers who died on the pitch will always be remembered.

Footballers who died on the pitch
Cheick Tiote, Miklos Feher and Puerta. Photos: Twitter (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Midfielder Christian Eriksen, one of the footballers who almost died on the pitch, fainted during their match against Finland in the opening round of Euro 2020 Group B. on June 12. However, according to Uefa, after receiving CPR from field medics, Eriksen was taken to a hospital where he was stabilised and, according to officials, was awake and responsive.

Has any footballer ever died on the pitch?

Unfortunately, many athletes have passed away playing the game they love. The following is a list of soccer players who lost their lives during a match.

Antonio Puerta

footballers who died on the pitch
FC Sevilla's Antonio Puerta #27 celebrates after scoring against Schalke 04 at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla, Spain. Photo: Denis Doyle
Source: Getty Images

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On the 28th of August 2007, three days after participating in a league game between Sevilla and Getafe, the Sevilla player tragically passed away. He passed out on the field and had to be taken out of the game for a replacement. Although he regained consciousness and could walk off the field alone, he passed away from postanoxic encephalopathy after passing out in the locker room.

Peter Biaksangzuala

On October 19, 2014, a 23-year-old midfielder for the Indian club Bethlehem Vengthlang tragically lost his life after attempting a backflip celebrating a goal.

Cristian Gomez

On May 24, 2015, while competing for Atletico Parana against Boca Unidos, the 27-year-old football player fainted and died in the middle of the match.

Miklos Feher

footballers who almost died on the pitch
Miklos Feher appeared for Hungary's national team against England at Wembley, England, on June 23, 2002. Photo: John Walton
Source: Getty Images

Feher passed away on January 25, 2004, at the young age of 24. He had been playing for Benfica versus Vitoria de Guimaraes. Feher started to hike and try to keep playing but eventually fainted on the field. A pulmonary artery occlusion led to his death.

Alen Panic

On June 22nd, 2013, Panic had a heart attack while playing a friendly match against Istra in Maruzni. Although he had a history of heart issues and had passed out on the field before, the doctors decided to allow him to keep playing. However, he was unable to persevere and passed away.

Piermario Morosini

Famous footballers who died on the pitch
Piermario Morosini of Reggina Calcio in action against Grosseto on January 5, 2010, in Reggio Calabria, Italy. Photo: Maurizio Lagana
Source: Getty Images

On April 14, 2012, while watching Livorno play Pescara, Morosini collapsed and died of a heart attack. Even though Morosini was rushed to the hospital in a life-threatening condition, doctors could not save his life.

Jose Antonio Gallardo

The Celta Vigo vs Malaga match resulted in a head injury for Gallardo. The keeper made a full recovery, but the bang left him in a coma 17 days later. Later that month, on January 8, 1988, he passed away.

Marcio Dos Santos

Has any footballer ever died on the pitch?
Gabriel dos Santos of Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League group play: Zurich vs Arsenal in St. Gallen, Switzerland on September 8, 2022. Photo: Marcio Machado
Source: Getty Images

In 2002, on October 28th, not long after appearing in a game between Deportivo Wanka and Alianza Lima, he passed away. Marcio scored the game-winning goal. He had been feeling under the weather leading up to the game, so his doctor gave him some painkillers. Unfortunately, he had a heart attack and passed away in the club's hotel.

Serhiy Perkhun

Serhiy Perkhun, the goalie for CSKA Moscow, suffered a severe blow when he collided with an opposing player on August 29, 2001, and remained in a coma for the next ten days before passing away.

Phil O’Donnell

has any footballer ever died on the pitch?
Phil O'Donnell tussles with Hearts' Andrius Velika (right) for possession. Photo: Aubrey Washington
Source: Getty Images

Motherwell's captain, Phil O' Donnel, collapsed and died from heart failure in a December 2007 game against Dundee United. The 35-year-old midfielder played for several teams during his stellar career, including Scotland, Celtic, and Sheffield Wednesday. However, he collapsed when his replacement was ready to be made.

Cristiano Jr.

The death of Junior was shocking and shockingly awful. Before the 2003 Indian National Football League season, Cristiano Sebastio de Lima Junior moved to India and joined East Bengal.

He played for East Bengal and had a fantastic season before signing with Dempo of Goa. Then, in October of 2004, when playing Mohun Bagan, the goalkeeper tried to score his second goal after chasing the ball into the box and clashed with the opposing goalkeeper. He stayed in one place the whole time. At 25, Cristiano passed away without medical personnel on the field or in the stadium to help him.

Marc-Vivien Foe

African footballers who died on the pitch
Marc Vivien FOE Cameroon during the FIFA World Cup match between Cameroon and Saudi Arabia on June 6, 2002, in Saitama Stadium, Japan. Photo: Olivier Prevosto
Source: Getty Images

The Cameroonian professional footballer passed away on June 26, 2003, after collapsing during his team's semi-final match against Colombia at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. He was one of the famous footballers who died on the pitch,

Samuel Okwaraji

This Nigerian player died on August 12, 1989, at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State, after collapsing in the 77th minute due to congestive heart failure during a World Cup qualification match against Angola. Before his untimely demise, he had also completed his Master of Laws degree at the University of Rome.

Moise Brou Apanga

African footballers who died on the pitch
Moise BROU APANGA -28.08.2010 - Caen / Brest - 4eme journee de Ligue 1 - Stade d Ornano - Caen. Photo : David Winter
Source: Getty Images

The football defender, born in Ivory Coast and played for FC 105 Libreville in Gabon, passed away on April 26, 2017, after suffering a heart attack during a training session with his club team.

Ben Idrissa Derme

He represented Burkina Faso on the international stage as a footballer, playing the centre-half position. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack on September 11, 2016, while competing in the 2016–17 Coupe de France tournament, and he passed on the following day.

David Faramola Oniya

The Nigerian football player was a member of the T-Team club, which competed in the Malaysia Premier League. On June 13, 2015, he passed away after falling on the field in Malaysia during a friendly match between his club and Kelantan. The match was played in Malaysia.

Patrick Claude Ekeng Ekeng

African footballers who died on the pitch
Kim Bo Kyung of Korea battles Patrick Ekeng of Cameroon at the Army Stadium on September 26, 2009, in Suez, Egypt. Photo: Julian Finney.
Source: Getty Images

He was a member of the Cameroonian national team and played the position of a defensive midfielder. He lived in Switzerland, Spain, and Romania for relatively short periods. He died in Romania on May 6, 2016, after collapsing during a match for Dinamo București.

Emmanuel Ogoli

He was a left-back for a Nigerian professional football team and was originally from Nigeria. The athlete, who had previously played for Bayelsa United and Ocean Boys, passed away in the hospital a few hours after collapsing on the field during a game for Ocean Boys on December 12, 2010.

Endurance Idahor

African footballers who died on the pitch
Sudanese Al-Nigerian Merrikh's striker Endurance Idahor celebrated a goal in Omdurman on February 27, 2010. Photo: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Endurance Idahor was a Nigerian football player who was a member of the Al-Merreikh team that competed in Sudan. Unfortunately, on March 6th, 2010, Idahor passed away while being transported to the hospital after collapsing during a league game.

Victor Omogbehin

On August 18, 2010, the Nigerian player, who was 22 years old, passed out during a league encounter. He participated in the Isthmian Football League match between Ilford F.C. and Lowestoft Town F.C., which Ilford F.C hosted.

Cheick Tiote

African footballers who died on the pitch
Cheick Tiote attends a Newcastle United training session at the Little Benton training ground on September 16, 2011, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Photo: Ian Horrocks
Source: Getty Images

Cheick Ismael Tioté was a football player from Ivory Coast who played a defensive midfielder position. His early training took place at the F.C. Bibo in his hometown of Yamoussoukro, and he made his professional-level debut in 2005 with Anderlecht of Belgium.

He passed away on June 5th, 2017, while practising with his new team in Beijing, China. It is believed that he suffered a heart arrest during the workout.

Which footballer died in a match?

Local media said on Saturday that Sofiane Loukar, an Algerian football player, had a heart attack and died after colliding with his goalie during a match in Oran's second division.

Has anyone ever died during a soccer game?

Piermario Morosini, a midfielder for Livorno, died on Saturday after collapsing on the field due to cardiac arrest during his team's Serie B match at Pescara. Morosini had previously played for the Italy Under-21 national team. He was 25.

Footballers who died on the pitch have caused actual football fans pain. Deaths, especially on the field of play, are the most heartbreaking experience for footballers. But, unfortunately, the sports world at large would never like to encounter it, despite football being the most loved sport in the world.

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.