LONDON (AP) Emerging Australian forward Dylan Tombides, who broke into the West Ham first-team squad while receiving cancer treatment, has died. He was 20.
The English Premier League club says Tombides, who was initially diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, died on Friday having ”courageously fought the disease for three years.”
Tombides, who joined West Ham at 15, made just one first-team appearance for the east London club – in the League Cup in September 2012 – but he also made the substitute’s bench for Premier League games.
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The Perth-born forward played for Australia Under-22s at the Asian championship in Oman this year.
Tombides wrote on Twitter last month that he spent his 20th birthday in hospital.
Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop said Tombides was an outstanding player of his generation.
”The Tombides family has lost a fine young man and Australian football has lost one of its most promising football players,” Gallop said. ”He will be remembered for the courage he showed in his personal battle as much as the prodigious talent he displayed on the football field.”
As a mark of respect, the Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United will wear black armbands and hold a minute’s silence at Saturday’s A-League elimination final at Gosford north of Sydney.
His death will also be marked by a minute’s applause before West Ham’s home match against Crystal Palace in London this weekend.