Patrick Ekeng
Patrick Ekeng is treated after collapsing in the 70th minute of Dimano Bucharest's game with Viitorul Constanta. Getty Images

Dinamo Bucharest soccer player Patrick Ekeng has died after collapsing during a game in the Romanian capital. In a match against Viitorul Constanta, televised live on Romanian television, midfielder Ekeng had only been on the field for seven minutes after coming on as a substitute when he fell to the ground motionless in the center circle having reportedly suffered a heart attack.

Immediately medical staff rushed over to his side before the 26-year-old was transported to the nearby Floreasca Emergency Hospital, which was quickly descended on by dozens of Dimano supporters. Less than two hours after arriving at the facility he had been pronounced dead.

Ekeng, a Cameroon international, had only joined Dinamo in January and just two weeks ago scored a goal in a cup semifinal against local rivals Steaua Bucharest. He had previously played in Europe for Spanish side Cordoba, Swiss outfit Lausanne-Sport and French sides Le Mans and Rodez after beginning his career with Cameroonian side Canon Yaounde.

According to Romanian news outlet DigiSport, first aid was not immediately provided to Ekeng after he collapsed, with the ambulance that came onto the pitch not having a defibrillator and used purely for transportation.

It is not the first such incident to strike either Cameroon or Dinamo Bucharest. At the 2003 Confederations Cup, Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed and died while playing for Cameroon in the semifinals. In 2000, the same tragedy befell Dinamo Bucharest captain Catalin Hildan during a friendly match. One of the stands of Dinamo’s stadium is named in his honor.

But there has been an occurrence of swift medical treatment being successful. Fabrice Muamaba suffered a cardiac arrest during an English FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham in 2012 but later recovered despite his heart having stopped for over an hour.