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Sevilla's Antonio Puerta, 22, Dies
Various Reports , August 28th, 2007 5:30PM



Three days after suffering a series of cardiac arrests during FC Sevilla's La Liga opener, Antonio Puerta died on Tuesday. The midfielder, a former Spanish international, was admitted to the Virgen del Rocio hospital in Seville on Saturday and had been in deteriorating condition since. He was just 22 years old. Puerta's body will now be taken to Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, where fans will be able to pay their respects to a player who featured for the UEFA Cup and King's Cup-winning team 53 times in three seasons. He will be buried on Thursday.

Puerta died of a similar hereditary heart condition suffered by the late Manchester City midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, according to a report from Doctor Francisco Murillo cited on Wikipedia. As a result of multiple, prolonged cardiac arrests, the Sevilla midfielder suffered multiple organ failure and irreversible brain damage. There was no word on whether the player had been equipped with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, similar to a pacemaker, which helps to stem the threat of sudden cardiac death due to ventricular fibrillation.

As a courtesy to the family of the deceased, UEFA agreed to postpone Sevilla's Champions League third-round qualifying match against AEK Athens in Greece. At the same time, the Spanish soccer league also called off Sevilla's game against Osasuna on Monday. The UEFA Cup winner has a European Super Cup match scheduled against European Champion AC Milan on Friday that has yet to be called off, although the Italian club has said it would be willing to do so.

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