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FIFPro, on behalf of all professional footballers in the world, would like to pass on its condolences to family, relatives, friends and teammates of both Kirk Urso and Henry Chinonso Ihelewere. These two young footballers passed away this weekend.

 

On Sunday, Henry Chinonso Ihelewere died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a friendly match in Romania, between  his club CS Delta Tulcea and local side FC Balotesti. The Nigerian striker came on as a substitute in the second half and collapsed after 15 minutes without any other player around.  He was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness.

 

Ihelewere, who turned 21 on July 8th, arrived in Romania in 2007, as he joined Farul Constanta. His former coach Cristian Dulca (currently at Universitatea Cluj) said: ‘It's a tragic day for Romanian football. I trained him for a year and a half and I can tell you he was a real example in training. He could have become a very good player.’

 

In the USA, Kirk Urso passed away on Sunday morning in a hospital in Columbus. No cause of death has yet been determined. The 22-year old midfielder was a rookie of MLS side Columbus Crew. This season he had played only six matches due to injuries.

 

Urso had a successful college career at the University of North Carolina (UNC). He was the captain of UNC’s title-winning team last December. He was also a former member of the USA U-17 squad that participated in the 2007 World Cup.

 

Former college teammate and fellow Crew rookie Ben Speas remembered Urso on his club’s website: ‘I will never forget his fight, leadership, jokes and smile. He’ll forever be remembered in my heart as one of my best friends and teammates I’ve had the privilege to play alongside.’