Brazilian star and former Newcastle Jets midfielder Bernardo Ribeiro has died from suspected heart problems in his native Brazil.
Ribeiro becomes the second player in two days to die after falling ill during a match, following the death of Dinamo Bucharest’s Patrick Ekeng during a Romanian league fixture on Friday.
The 26-year-old was according to Brazilian news outlet O Globo playing for Friburguense in the Rio State Championship on Saturday when he was suddenly taken ill and substituted.
He reportedly suffered a suspected heart attack in hospital, though the cause of the player’s death is yet to be confirmed.
“The Nova Friburgo sport is in mourning. The Friburguense Atlético Clube says goodbye to a great athlete and human being, loved by all the players, coaching staff, management and employees of the club.
“The deepest feelings of Frizao family to all families Bernardo Ribeiro.” A statement by Friburguense club reads.
Having progressed through Flamengo’s youth rank in his homeland and spending a short time in Italian side Catania’s academy, Ribeiro started his professional career at Skënderbeu in Albania in 2011.
The attacking midfielder signed for the Jets in 2012, where he made six appearances, before moving on to IFK Mariehamn in Finland. Ribeiro made a total of 32 appearances for the club over the course of two seasons before returning to Brazil, and the Veikkausliiga side paid tribute to their former player on Facebook.
Ribeiro subsequently signed for Inter de Lages in his homeland before moving to Friburguense.