Belgian soccer player Gregory Mertens, 24, dies of heart failure

Written By Russell Greaves
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Gregory Mertens, the Sporting Lokeren defender who collapsed during a reserve game versus Genk on Monday, has died.

Lokeren announced the news on Thursday, expressing its sadness at the death of the 24-year-old, who suffered heart failure.

A club statement read: "Much too soon, we say goodbye to Gregory Mertens. We are a football club. Everyone in and around the club breathes football. But suddenly something happens which we realize that football is just football. Today is such a time.

"Now we will have to learn to live with the loss. We realize that this is mainly for the family are incredibly difficult moments. We already offer them in the name of the whole club our sincere condolences."

Mertens went down about 25 minutes into Monday's game and was attended to by the medical staffs of both teams before an ambulance drove onto the field and took him to the hospital.

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