BRUSSELS: Miguel Van Damme, goalkeeper with Belgian club Cercle Brugge, has died at 28 after losing his six-year fight with leukaemia.

A family statement said: “Our dear dad left last night for his last match, a match that can no longer be won. You left us very slowly, but you started again in your own way… very strong. You fought like a lion.

The Instargram message was signed by partner Kyana Dobbelaere and daughter Camille.

Cercle, in a club statement, praised a “friend and teammate” for “his long and unequal battle with leukaemia”.

It added: “Words are not enough to describe how we feel, even though we knew things had not gone well for a while. Today is an extremely difficult day in Cercle Brugge’s nearly 123-year history.”

Van Damme, who has made 44 professional appearances, was diagnosed in mid-2016. He went into remission after two and a half years but the leukaemia returned in 2019 and then again in September last year.

Cercle renewed Van Damme’s contract first in 2017 and then again in 2020.