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Tributes flow for footballer Foe

Foe represented Cameroon 65 times, debuting against Mexico in 1993.  The midfielder scored eight goals.
Foe represented Cameroon 65 times, debuting against Mexico in 1993. The midfielder scored eight goals.

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LYON, France -- Tributes are flowing for Cameroon international midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, who died following Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final game against Colombia in Lyon.

The death of Foe at 28 has shocked the football world, startling players and fans around the globe, particularly in England, France and Foe's home Cameroon.

Foe, who spent last season on loan at English Premiership club Manchester City from French team Lyon, collapsed 15 minutes from the end of the game and was stretchered off unconscious.

The extent of his fall was not fully known at the time, and the game continued, with Cameroon winning 1-0.

The former West Ham midfielder was taken to the side of the Stade Gerland pitch where medical staff tried for around 45 minutes to resuscitate him without success.

Cheers of celebration in Cameroon quickly turned to screams of disbelief as news of Foe's death followed the victory.

In the Cameroon capital Yaounde, several fans collapsed in shock and had to be taken to hospital.

"For a moment we were so happy, but then there was crying in the streets, crying in the districts and crying in the towns. Everywhere there was crying," civil servant Martha Chinda told Reuters.

"We are all in mourning."

Cameroon state television said President Paul Biya had sent a message of condolence to Foe's family.

Mystery

The cause of Foe's death has not been determined.

"I have spoken with the doctor. It was like a heart attack," FIFA President Sepp Blatter told The Associated Press.

The joy of victory quickly turned to sorrow for Cameroon's fans.
The joy of victory quickly turned to sorrow for Cameroon's fans.

But FIFA's medical officer was more cautious on Foe's sudden collapse, saying the cause of death was "not absolutely clear. We prefer [to wait for] an autopsy."

Blatter described Foe's death as an "incredible tragedy". The FIFA head defended the scheduling of the Confederations Cup, saying he didn't believe the death was related to the lack of days off for teams.

The final at the Stade de France between Cameroon and France will go ahead, Blatter said, adding that the African nation had already promised to play the match.

However, some French players have expressed concern the match would not be appropriate.

"I don't know how we can play the final when the Cameroon team has suffered such a great, great loss," said France goalkeeper Gregory Toupet, a former teammate of Foe's at Lyon.

"He was an extraordinary man. He was the big brother."

France's coach Jacques Santini who had worked with Foe at Lyon -- openly wept during a minute of silence ahead of France's semi-final against Turkey.

"There is nothing to say. I will miss him. It is just too much," Santini said.

Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry -- who was informed of Foe's death minutes before kick-off -- dedicated the opening goal against Turkey to him, pointing to the sky after netting in the 12th minute.

Foe was loaned to City after starring for his country at last year's World Cup, his second spell in England after a year with West Ham.

Former City favorite Peter Barnes was stunned by the news and said: "I can't believe it.

"For anyone to pass away is very, very sad. But when someone is only 28 -- well, I don't know what to say.

"He gave 120 percent for City and was full of work and effort. I'm sure the fans will see it as a very sad loss."


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