French Ligue 1 club Reims were on Sunday in mourning for long-serving club doctor Bernard Gonzalez who committed suicide after being diagnosed with coronavirus, sources confirmed.
“Devastated, Reims cries for Bernard Gonzalez,” said a statement released by the Ligue 1 club.
“Not just the club but also hundreds of men and women in Reims.”
Contacted by AFP, Reims mayor Arnaud Robinet said he had been made aware of the suicide of the 60-year-old, who had worked at the club for over 20 years, by the local prefecture.
“I was told Doctor Gonzalez had left a note in which he mentioned that he had tested positive for COVID-19.”
A medical source also confirmed to AFP the existence of this letter but added that the doctor had appeared “to be in good shape two days ago”.
“I am shocked by his death because he was someone I had known for many years,” said Robinet.
“No only was he the club doctor, but he was also the GP of many people in Reims. He was known for his human and professional qualities.
“He will be missed by the football family and all those in Reims who met him.”
Reims club president Jean-Pierre Caillot said he was “stunned” by the news.
“This pandemic has struck Reims in the heart. A great personality and great professional of the sport has left us,” said Caillot.
More than 8,000 people have died from the coronavirus in France.