Thu, Nov 12, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Note found after German ’keeper dies

HIT BY TRAIN Robert Enke died after years of battling injuries and personal issues, including the death of his two-year-old daughter due to a heart ailment in 2006

REUTERS AND AP , HANNOVER, GERMANY

A German federal police officer yesterday stands guard as a train passes the site where Germany and Hanover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke died on Tuesday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Police have found a suicide note written by German national goalkeeper Robert Enke, who died on Tuesday after being hit by an express train near Hanover.

“I can confirm that there is a farewell letter, but out of respect to the family we will not say anything more,” Lower Saxony police spokesman Stefan Wittke told reporters yesterday.

The 32-year-old Enke was hit by the train traveling at 160kph as it passed through a crossing near Hanover on its route between Hamburg and Bremen.

Police said the Hanover 96 captain’s car, parked meters away from the tracks, was unlocked and his wallet was still inside.

Enke is survived by his wife, Teresa, and an eight-month-old girl the couple adopted in May.

His widow said he had been suffering from depression.

Teresa Enke said he was afraid their adopted daughter would be taken away from the family if his depression became public knowledge.

The couple’s biological daughter died three years ago.

A doctor who teated Enke said the goalkeeper first sought treatment in 2003, when he lost his place at Barcelona.

The German soccer federation called off training for Saturday’s international friendly against Chile, putting the match in doubt.

“The training planned for this morning has been canceled, as have all interview appointments,” the national body said. “More information will be available later in the day.”

A news conference was planned in Hanover later yesterday and the German national team said they would also hold one.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel contacted Enke’s family.

“A tragic death like this leaves no one unmoved and our thoughts are obviously with the family of the deceased,” government spokesman Christoph Steegmans told reporters. “The chancellor communicated her shock and compassion to the widow of Robert Enke in a very personal letter.”

Enke won eight international caps and was in the running to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year.

After years of battling injuries and personal issues, including the death of his two-year-old daughter as a result of a heart ailment in 2006, Enke finally appeared poised to grab the No. 1 spot for the national side.

He lived in the shadow of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann for almost a decade and it was only after the latter’s international retirement last year that Enke emerged as a leading contender for the position, despite earning his first call-up in 1999.

He won his first cap in 2007.

After playing for Borussia Moen­chen­glad­bach, Enke had several stints abroad, including at Benfica, Barcelona and Tenerife before ­returning to the Bundesliga in 2004.

Barcelona held a minute’s silence before dedicating their King’s Cup victory over Cultural Leonesa to Enke on Tuesday, while Tenerife said their players would be wearing black armbands in their La Liga match at the weekend.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Hanover stadium and offices yesterday, leaving flowers and lighting candles in Enke’s memory.

“We loved him. He was our idol,” one fan told Reuters Television. “We will never have someone like him. Not only for us but for the history of soccer this is a great tragedy.”

The German soccer league (DFL) said a minute’s silence would be held on the next matchday, with all players wearing black armbands.

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