Cercle Brugge goalkeeper Miguel Van Damme died at the age of 28 following a long battle with leukemia. Van Damme began his career in the Belgian first division in 2014. He made less than 50 appearances before his career was cut short by the disease. He was diagnosed in 2016 and although he recovered he relapsed in 2020. He announced that his treatment was no longer effective.

“It is with great sadness we report that our friend and team-mate Van Damme has fought his long and uneven battle against leukemia,” Cercle Brugge said in a statement regarding Miguel van Damme. “Words are not enough to describe what we feel, even though we knew that things had not gone well for a while. Miguel, your perseverance and strength to go for it [again] over and over, setback after setback, was admirable. You are an example of positivism, persistence, and a fighting spirit. A source of inspiration for everyone who fights. Forever in our green-black heart, #16.”

“Our dearest darling, daddy left for his last match last night, a match that can no longer be won. You left us very slowly, yet you did it again in your own way… very strong,” Kyanna Dobblelaere, his wife wrote on Instagram. You fought like a lion. We are so thankful for who you were. An example for many. You have made me realize that there is no such thing as giving up, even if there was only that one small glimmer of success, time and again you got over it. Rest now darling you have more than earned it, you are now freed from all pain.”

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Cercle Brugge,” The Belgian Pro League said in a statement. “Your fighting spirit has been inspiring. Rest in peace.”

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