Tributes have been pouring in on social media after news of the tragic death of Papa Bouba Diop.
The former Senegal midfielder - a cult figure after his country's remarkable 2002 World Cup campaign - died at the age of 42 after a battle with illness.
Diop is remembered fondly by English football fans after his stint in the Premier League, with his most productive spell culminating in a famous 2008 FA Cup triumph with Portsmouth.
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Diop, who arrived in England in 2004 when he joined Fulham from Lens and went on to play for Portsmouth and briefly West Ham and Birmingham, had been suffering with a long-term illness, according to reports in his homeland.
It's understood Diopp had been suffering from a type of motor neurone disease known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Fulham tweeted early on Sunday evening: "We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe."
For you, Wardrobe.
RIP Papa Bouba Diop. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/f0WHEVvhka
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) November 29, 2020
— Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) November 29, 2020
Portsmouth posted: "We're devastated to hear reports that FA Cup winner Papa Bouba Diop has passed away after a long illness, aged just 42. Rest in peace, The Wardrobe."
Lens tweeted: "It is with great sadness that the Racing Club of Lens has just learned of the passing of its former player Papa Bouba #Diop, at the age of 42. We extend our deepest condolences to his loved ones."
Tributes to Diop flood social media
The 1.95m player, nicknamed 'The Wardrobe', scored the opening goal at the 2002 World Cup finals when Senegal upset reigning champions France 1-0.
The goal made him Diop a global hero and sparked an incredible run from Senegal that saw the World Cup debutant's go all the way to the quarter-finals pf the tournament in Japan and South Korea.
FIFA said on its World Cup Twitter account: "FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero."
He made more than 80 appearances in all competitions for Fulham, scoring nine goals, and in 2007 moved to Pompey, for whom he featured over 50 times.
Diop, whose former clubs also included Swiss sides Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers and Greek club AEK Athens, won 63 caps for his country, scoring 11 goals.
His death has left the footballing world deeply saddened, with many fans remembering that famous World Cup goal against France and the legacy it left on the sport.
Papa Bouba Diop
the most memorable goals from 2002 World Cup 🙏🏾
RIP Papa Bouba Diop NICKNAME ‘The Wardrobe’. I remember coming home from school and seeing what he had done to France in the opening match of WC 2002. Unforgettable. pic.twitter.com/ncrxIQQr5F
— Niccolò Makavelli (@ESSELKOBINA39) November 29, 2020
Was in gr 8 and I remember telling everyone in class that Senegal will beat France, come monday I was treated like I've just discovered electricity😂
RIP to the legend
— Night King☠⚔ (@ofentsemokgau) November 29, 2020
Memories, seems like yesterday. The defending champions were shocked, everyone had canceled them before the game... May his soul RIP
— Obembem (@Jero_obem) November 29, 2020
Remember this goal. I was 13yo and I was supporting Senegal in this game. Rest in Peace PAPA BOUBA DIOP.
— Wiktor Piwowarski 🇵🇱 (@bianconerio) November 29, 2020
— Deano Calcutt (@DeanoCalcutt) November 29, 2020
This sometimes just shows that life is unpredictable. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Hug our loved ones today and tell them how much we love them while we still have the chance to... RIP Bouba Diop
— TheRealDavidFirdaus (@TheRealDavidFi1) November 29, 2020
Rest in eternal glory African & world legend.😭😭
2020 is the worst year
— Simiyu@Lumunyasi (@ksimiyu1) November 29, 2020
RIP to the Wardrobe. Will go down in World Cup folklore for that goal against France. Several have got big moves after a tournament and not delivered, but this guy was a fine player
— Stu Dalgleish 💛💙 (@StuDalgleish) November 29, 2020
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