Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic dies aged 26, as club 'completely devastated'

15 June 2024, 09:36 | Updated: 15 June 2024, 10:06

Millwall's Matija Sarkic died
Millwall's Matija Sarkic has died. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died aged 26.

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Montenegro international Sarkic is said to have fallen ill while on international duty in the town of Budva.

Friends called an ambulance but he was pronounced dead at around 6.30am on Saturday. He last played just ten days ago.

No cause of death has been given yet, and an investigation is underway.

Grimsby-born Sarkic played over 30 times for south London club Milwall last season, and previously played for a string of English clubs, including Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City.

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Millwall, who play in the Championship, the second tier of English football, announced his death in a statement on Saturday, saying: "Millwall Football Club is completely devastated to announce that Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26.

"Sarkic, The Lions' number one goalkeeper, made 33 appearances for the club since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023.

"A Montenegro international, Matija proudly represented his country on numerous occasions. Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija's family and friends at this immensely sad time. The club will make no further comment at this time and asks that the privacy of Matija's family is respected."

Matija Sarkic
Matija Sarkic. Picture: Getty

Millwall Supporters' Club posted on X: "What horrendous news to wake up to this morning that our goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died at the young age of 26.

"Devastating news for his friends and family and for all of us associated with Millwall. Once a lion, always a lion."

Sarkic joined Aston Villa in 2015 but never played for the Midlands club. He had loan spells at Wigan, Stratford, Havant and Waterlooville and Livingston before moving to Wolves in 2020.

He then moved on loan to Shrewsbury, Birmingham City and Stoke before getting his transfer to Millwall.

Sarkic played 124 senior club games in total, as well as gaining nine caps for his country.

Sarkic was last in action just ten days ago, against Belgium
Sarkic was last in action just ten days ago, against Belgium. Picture: Getty

Other clubs and footballing bodies also paid tribute to him.

Fellow south Londoners Crystal Palace said: "Everyone at Crystal Palace sends their deepest condolences to Matija's family, friends and the club at this very sad time."

Liverpool said: "Such awful news. The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool FC are with Matija’s family and friends at this difficult time."

Ipswich Town, recently promoted to the Premier League, said: "The thoughts of all at Ipswich Town are with Matija's family and friends and everyone at Millwall at this incredibly sad time."

UEFA, who run football in Europe, said: "On behalf of European football, our deepest condolences go to Matija’s friends, family and everybody who knew him. Rest in peace, Matija."

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