Gregory Mertens passes away

The 24-year-old collapsed with a cardiac arrest in his side's clash on Monday and was placed in an induced coma, but the club have revealed he has lost his fight for survival

Gregory Mertens, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a reserve fixture against KRC Genk, has passed away, Sporting Lokeren have announced on their official website.

The 24-year-old lost consciousness during Monday's fixture and, after being resuscitated on the field, he was transferred to hospital and placed in an induced coma and on life support.

The club's doctor, Kris Peeters, admitted on Wednesday that the situation "did not look good", but on Thursday it was revealed that the player had lost the fight for survival.

“Something has happened that no one could ever suspect or dare imagine. Far too soon, we say goodbye to Gregory Mertens,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

“We are a football club. Everyone in and around this club breathes football. But suddenly something happens and we realise that football is just football. Today is such a time.

“The medical staff has done everything to save Gregory, but they finally had to acknowledge their impotence. Gregory died around 16.30CET. The family has been able to say goodbye.

“Gregory was only at Lokeren for one and a half years, but in that short time, through his quiet modesty, he showed to be an indispensable person. Now we will have to learn to live with the loss.

“We realise that these are incredibly difficult moments for the family. We offer them, in the name of the whole club, our sincere condolences.

“Gregory, we will miss you!”