Mansfield Town striker Ryan Evans has died, aged just 18.
The League Two club confirmed the news on Friday morning, with an official statement confirming he died at home.
Evans was the captain of Mansfield’s Under-18 performance group, and he had recently accepted a place in the club’s Under-21 squad ahead of next season.
Jamie McGuire, Evans’ coach at academy level, said: “We are all desperately sorry to learn of this news and our thoughts and prayers are sent to Ryan’s family at this sad time.
“As a player, Ryan was a fantastic leader, always willing to learn and had a never-ending enthusiasm to do the best he could. It was for these reasons, amongst others, that I made him my captain last season.
“We’ll remember him as a smiling young man, with a great energy and charm.”
Stags’ chief executive officer Carolyn Radford said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Ryan’s passing; a young and talented footballer who was looking forward to U21s football with us next season.
“To lose someone so young is heartbreaking for Ryan’s family and as a club we will support them in every way we can.
“Our heartfelt thoughts are with Ryan’s loved ones, whist we will remember Ryan and his family in our prayers.”