(Metro.co.uk) – A 21-year-old Spanish football coach, who was suffering with leukaemia, has died just days after he tested positive for coronavirus.
Francisco García, who worked with Atlético Portada Alta, in Malaga, southern Spain, is said to be one of the youngest victims in the world to have died after catching the virus. It is understood he was admitted to hospital on Friday after suffering what he thought was a ‘bad cold’ but doctors found he had pneumonia.
‘The doctors did tests, and more tests, and then confirmed that he had coronavirus and that he was suffering with leukaemia,’ a friend told El Mundo. His friend said he ‘struggled for a few days’ at Hospital Carlos Haya, where he was being treated in an isolated unit, before he died on Sunday night.
The club confirmed his death in a heart-breaking Facebook post: ‘From Atlético Portada Alta, we want to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of our coach Francisco García, who has tragically left us today.
‘What will we do without you now, Francis? You were always with us at Portada or helping wherever we needed it… We don’t know but we know that we will do it, for you.
‘We won’t forget you. Rest in peace, legend. Until we meet again.’
Portada Alta president, Pepe Bueno, said: ‘He was a great guy and a very talented coach. We are all still in shock.
‘The hospital called me at 7pm on Sunday saying his condition had stabilised after he was admitted on Friday. And then one hour later… It was a combination of coronavirus and a bad illness. I can’t believe it has happened. It seems impossible.’
Francisco, who had worked with the team since 2017, is the fifth victim to have died in the province after contracting the virus, yet the others have all been elderly patients.
‘It has hit us hard. We knew he was ill because they had diagnosed a type of cancer but it never crossed our minds that this could happen to someone so young,’ added colleagues at the club.
Spanish football, including LaLiga, was suspended to protect players and slow the spread of the pandemic.
The news comes after the country was placed into lockdown on Saturday. All Spaniards must stay home except to buy food or drugs, go to the hospital, go to work or other emergencies.
The number of confirmed cases in the country surged by 1,400 overnight, to a total of 9,190, and 309 people have died after testing positive.