The football world is mourning the death of 21-year-old football coach Francisco Garcia, who died after contracting coronavirus.
The Spanish coach, who had served as Malaga-based club Atletico Portada Alta's youth team manager since 2016, has become the fifth and youngest victim of the illness in the region.
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Garcia died on Sunday after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, having been sent to the Regional Hospital of Malaga for treatment.
Upon his arrival at the facility, Garcia was found to be suffering from a form of leukaemia which made him more vulnerable to the virus currently sweeping the globe.
It has been reported that the young coach is one of the youngest people to have died from coronavirus to date, with the death rate at its highest among those over the age of 70.
Football world mourns death of Francisco Garcia
Atletico Portada Alta released an official statement via social media following Garcia's death, which reads: “We want to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and close friends of our coach Francisco García who has left us, unfortunately, today.
“Now what do we do without you, Francis? You were always there with us at Portada or wherever you were needed, helping out. How can we keep covering all those kilometres in the league?
“We don't know how, but we will surely do it for you. We will not forget you, rest in peace, phenomenon. Until forever.”
Club president Pepe Bueno described Garcia as a “very good boy.”
“We're still in a state of shock,” Bueno said.
“They called me at 7pm on Sunday saying that he was stabilised after they had admitted him on Friday.
“And an hour later of the coronavirus and [cancer]... I do not believe it. It seems impossible to me.”
Segunda outfit Malaga CF also expressed their condolences to Garcia's friends and family in a short message on Twitter.
“From the club, we want to convey to Atlético Portada Alta our deepest condolences for the loss of one of their coaches, Francisco García, as well as send a warm hug to his family and friends. Together we must stop Covid-19,” they wrote.
🇪🇸 R.I.P Francisco Garcia from Malaga.— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) March 16, 2020
Francisco was a 21 year old football coach in Spain, He was diagnosed with Coronavirus and at the same time found he had cancer. Thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/NE1wehGjoo
He had a form of leukaemia. What’s the UK plan for immunocompromised younger people, many of whom will be living in house shares with people whose work is very likely to bring them into contact with the virus? https://t.co/7lOOE40BTh— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) March 16, 2020
Francisco Garcia was unaware that he had leukaemia until he was tested positive with covid-19.— simone not thimone (@leizenomis) March 16, 2020
This is heartbreaking https://t.co/PRIA47z51S
R . I . P— Fancy Di Maria (@FancyDiMaria_) March 16, 2020
Coach of the small club of Atlético Portada Alta, Francisco Garcia (21) died after being victim of the Covid-19.
The young Spanish boy was suffering from a previous oncological pathology (leukemia) which worsened his condition. pic.twitter.com/xhyerFAMjn
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Francisco Garcia at this time. RIP 🌹 pic.twitter.com/H25uDxer2u— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) March 16, 2020
A truly heartbreaking story coming out of Spain today.— Goal News (@GoalNews) March 16, 2020
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Francisco Garcia at this time. RIP 🌹
Spanish football’s major leagues have all been shut down indefinitely to contain the spread of coronavirus, with 9190 cases recorded in the country to date and 309 deaths.
Germany, Italy and England have all followed the same protocols, with UEFA chiefs set for a crisis meeting on Tuesday to evaluate whether or not the 2019-20 campaign will be continued.