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29th Mar 2022

Belgian footballer Miguel van Damme tragically dies aged 28

Reuben Pinder

RIP Miguel van Damme

Belgian goalkeeper Miguel van Damme has died at the age of 28, leaving behind his wife and young daughter.

He was initially diagnosed with leukemia in 2016, and endured three separate periods living with the disease before he tragically passed this week.

His club, Cercle Brugge, announced the news in a statement on social media.

“It is with great sadness that we report that our friend and teammate Miguel Van Damme has fought his long and uneven 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, the parents of Miguel, 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.”

Belgian news outlet Sporza have reported that the player was informed his cancer was incurable just two days after he found out he was going to be a father, in late 2020. His daughter was born in May 2021.

His wife, Kyana Dobbelaere, wrote a moving tribute to her late husband.

“Our dearest darling, daddy left for his last match last night, a match that can no longer be won,” she wrote.

“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.”