MEXICO CITY (AP) – Delta Tulcea's Henry Chinonso Ihelewere suffered a fatal heart attack during Sunday's friendly against FC Balotesti, doctors in Romania have confirmed.
The 21-year-old Nigerian forward collapsed with no other player near him, around 15 minutes after entering the field as a half-time substitute for the Liga II side.
He was attended to by ambulances from the Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication (SMURD - Serviciul Mobil de Urgenta, Reanimare si Descarcerare) but was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dr. John Tanase, a SMURD doctor at the scene, told prosport.ro: "The patient was always in cardiopulmonary arrest. He was found in cardiopulmonary arrest and attempts were made at resuscitation until 13.12. The first aid crew arrived within three to four minutes after the call."
A statement on the club's official website expressed condolences to the player's family and added: "Thank you for everything you did for our team and we will not forget Henry Chinonso Ihelewere."
The collapse of Ihelewere, who scored 14 goals in 37 appearances for Delta, shocked club president Haralambos Meregiu.
He told Liga2.ro: "His last review was made on July 27 this year. He had no heart problems, the ECG was okay.
"He fell as if he was cut down but there was no one near him, no one attacked him. It all occurred out of the blue.
"I told someone to give him first aid, he called the ambulance and SMURD came in eight or 10 minutes. As it was a serious case, a few minutes later a second vehicle came from SMURD.
"The medical staff arrived and tried hard to bring Henry back to life. I have nothing to reproach them for."
Ihelewere's death came less than 24 hours after that of 22-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso in the United States.