Ligue 1 club Reims have confirmed the death of their team doctor who was diagnosed with coronavirus that has taken the lives of over 8000 people in France.
Reims' president Jean-Pierre Caillot said the coronavirus pandemic has affected the club "in the heart" following the death of club doctor Bernard Gonzalez, who spent 23 years at the club.
Reims' mayor, Arnaud Robinet, called Gonzalez a 'collateral victim of COVID-19' and suggested to Le Parisien that he left a note before his passing.
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"Gonzalez was great professional, recognized and appreciated by all," Robinet said. "My thoughts are with his parents, his wife and his family.
"He is a collateral victim of COVID-19 because it had been detected positive. I know he left a note to explain his gesture. But I ignore its content."
The statement on the club's official website paid tribute to Gonzales who spent over two decades with the French top-flight outfit.
"Words fail me, I am stunned, prostrate before this news," president Caillot said. "This pandemic affects Stade de Reims in the heart.
"This is a personality of Reims and a great professional of the sport who left us.
"His mission to the club of more than 20 years has been carried out with the utmost professionalism, in a passionate and even selfless manner."