Mexican forward Ezequiel Orozco has died at age 29 after a battle with lung cancer, Liga MX confirmed Friday.
Orozco announced his diagnosis in November 2016, making his final appearance on the field shortly after. He started and wore the captain's armband for Murcielagos before leaving in the first minute, with his teammates and members of the opposing team, Tampico Madero, surrounding the player to give him well wishes as he made his way to the bench.
"The Liga Bancomer MX/Ascenso Bancomer MX expresses their most sincere condolences for the death of Ezequiel Francisco Orozco Padilla, member of the Mexican soccer family, player of Club Murcielagos of Los Mochis and ex-player of Necaxa, Altamira, Atlante and Chiapas. We hope his family members and friends quickly find peace," read a statement released by the league.
The forward's announcement in 2016 was followed by a flood of support from Liga MX and Ascenso MX teams, as well as Mexican players playing abroad. News of his passing has drawn a similar number of tributes for the well-liked player known as "Cheque."
"I hope you'll always be remembered with a smile on your face and as the warrior you were," Mexican left back Miguel Layun wrote. "Rest in peace "Cheque""
Que siempre se te recuerde con una sonrisa en la cara, y como el guerrero que fuiste. Descansa en paz “CHEQUE”. Pronta resignación a tu familia. 🙌🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/iEBiYEvSV7— Miguel Layun (@Miguel_layun) March 16, 2018
"You were someone who always motivated everyone to be better. It's a great honor for me to be able to say we were together on a soccer field. We're going to miss you. Until soon, brother," Club America forward Oribe Peralta wrote.
Fuiste alguien que siempre motivó a los demás a ser mejores, Es de gran orgullo para mi poder decir que estuvimos juntos en una cancha de fútbol, te vamos a extrañar.— Oribe Peralta (@OribePeralta) March 16, 2018
Hasta pronto hermano! pic.twitter.com/5PRY0DIeBT
Orozco scored 13 league goals in his professional career, which he began in 2009 with Necaxa after he came out of their academy.
A minute of applause will take place prior to every Liga MX, Ascenso MX and Liga MX Femenil match to commemorate Orozco's life, the league announced Friday.