Belgian footballer, Miguel van Damme has tragically passed away at the age of 28 after losing his battle with Leukaemia.
Van Damme was first diagnosed with the disease during a medical check-up ahead of the 2016-17 season, and bravely fought against the illness for over five years. He leaves behind his wife and young daughter.
After the blood cancer returned twice, Van Damme sadly told supporters in September 2020 that it had returned for the third time, and would be incurable.
His partner, Kyana Dobbelaere, paid a touching tribute after his passing.
She wrote: ‘Our dearest darling, daddy left for his last match last night, a match that can no longer be won.
‘You left us very slowly, yet you did it again in your own way… very strong.
‘You fought like a lion. We are so thankful for who you were. An example for many.
‘You have made me realise that there is no such thing as giving up, even if there was only that one small glimmer of success, time and again you got over it.
‘Rest now darling, you have more than earned it, you are now freed from all pain. We would love to see you.
‘Big hug from your two girls. See you later.’
Sporza, a publication in Belgium, have claimed that Van Damme was informed that his cancer was incurable two days after he discovered he would be a father.
The family welcomed their daughter Camille in May 2021.
Cercle Brugge, Van Damme’s club, penned a heartfelt message after the devastating news of their player’s death.
‘It is with great sadness that we report that our friend and teammate Miguel Van Damme has fought his long and unfair battle against leukemia,’ it read.
‘Words are not enough to describe what we feel, even though we knew that things had not gone well for a while.
‘Today is an extremely difficult day in the almost 123-year history of Cercle Brugge.
‘Our thoughts go in the first place to his wife Kyana, his daughter Camille, Miguel’s parents, his sister Francesca but also to his many friends and family.
‘Miguel, your perseverance and strength to go for it (again) over and over, setback after setback, was admirable.
‘You are an example of positivism, persistence and fighting spirit. A source of inspiration for everyone who fights.
‘Forever in our green-black heart, #16.’