Belgium Goalkeeper Van Damme Dies Aged 28 After Long Battle With Cancer

Belgium goalkeeper Miguel Van Damme has passed away at the age of 28 after a long battle with Leukemia.

Van Damme was first diagnosed with the disease in 2016 but after initially recovering following treatment, the disease returned in 2020 and this time it was deemed incurable.

Van Damme, who played for Cercle Brugge, left behind a wife and daughter, born in 2021.

Van Damme featured less than 50 times for Cercle as the disease continued to disrupt his career.

"It is with great sadness we report that our friend and team-mate Van Damme has fought his long and uneven battle against leukaemia," the club said.

"Words are not enough to describe what we feel, even though we knew that things had not gone well for a while.

"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."

Van Damme's wife Kyana Dobbelaere wrote on Instagram: "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."

The Belgian Pro League said: "Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Cercle Brugge.

"Your fighting spirit has been inspiring. Rest in peace."