Football mourns death of Jean-Pierre Adams after 39 years in coma

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Jean-Pierre Adams, pictured here during his football career.
Jean-Pierre Adams has died after 39 years in a coma. Image: Twitter

The football world is mourning the death of Jean-Pierre Adams, the former French international who spent 39 years in a coma.

Adams, who made 22 appearances for France, died on Monday at the age of 73.

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His tragic story is well known in the football world after was left in a coma at the age of 34 after undergoing what should have been a routine knee operation.

However Adams never awoke from surgery, with anaesthetic-related errors by hospital staff in Lyon leading to his brain being starved of oxygen and causing him to slip into a coma.

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He spent the next 39 years in a coma before he died at the Nimes University Hospital on Monday.

Tributes have followed from his former clubs Nimes, Nice and PSG, as they all pay respects to a pioneer who paved the way for French-African footballers.

Adams made 84 appearances for Nimes, with the club expressed their "most sincere condolences to his loved ones and his family". 

Nice promised a tribute before their next home game against Monaco on September 19. 

PSG released a statement echoing similar sentiments, adding that Adams' "joie de vivre, charisma and experience commanded respect".

Jean-Pierre Adams and Marius Tresor, pictured here in action for France.
Jean-Pierre Adams and Marius Tresor in action for France. (Photo by Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Wife defends keeping Adams alive for 39 years

The Senegal-born footballer returned home to Nimes the year after the botched operation and was cared for by his wife Bernadette up to his death.

According to Bernadette, her husband was able to breathe, eat and cough on his own and didn't need the aid of medical equipment.

“People on Facebook say he should be unplugged … But he is not plugged," Bernadette said last year.

"I just don’t have the courage to stop giving him food and water.

“He has a normal routine. He wakes up at 7, eats … He may be in a vegetative state, but he can hear and sit in a wheelchair.

"We buy presents like a T-shirt or a jumper because I dress him in his bed - he changes clothes every day.

"I'll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent.

"He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favourite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior."

Former teammate Marius Tresor, with whom he formed a formidable partnership in defence for France, reportedly hadn't visited Adams since the mishap and didn't agree with him being kept alive.

“Even if Jean-Pierre woke up, he would not recognise anybody," Tresor said, according to Paris United.

"So is it worth living like this? If a similar thing happened to me, I told my wife not to keep me here.”

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with AAP

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