(CNN) — Former World Cup star with Senegal, Papa Bouba Diop, has passed away at the age of 42, according to various reports, including ESPN.
The governing body of world football published a tribute to the midfielder in
: «FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Figure once of the World Cup, you will always be a figure of the World Cup, ”said the FIFA World Cup in a statement Sunday.
FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop.— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 29, 2020
Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero. pic.twitter.com/akUJoPxCal
Credit: KIM JAE-HWAN / AFP via Getty Images
Diop scored the winning goal in the 2002 World Cup opener against reigning champions France.
In his career as a footballer, Diop played for a number of English teams, including Fulham FC in the Premier League, where he made his debut in 2004. Fulham fans nicknamed him “The Wardrobe” because he was 1.95 meters tall.
“We are devastated to hear the news tonight that Papa Bouba Diop passed away, aged 42. Rest well Wardrobe, ”Fulham said in a tweet.
Birmingham FC, where Diop ended his career in 2013, said in a Twitter statement: “We are devastated to learn of the passing of former player Papa Bouba Diop at the age of 42. Our thoughts are with Papa’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.
Citing unidentified sources, ESPN reported, Diop had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease.
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