Former Saint-Etienne footballer, William Gomis, has died after reportedly being shot with an AK47 at the age of 19.
French club Saint-Etienne confirmed the former reserve player’s death in a statement.
Unconfirmed reports suggested the defender was killed in a shooting in La Seyne-sur-Mer, Cote d’Azur, on Sunday night. It has also been reported that a 14-year-old died in the incident.
“AS Saint-Etienne has had the immense sadness to learn of the tragic death of William Gomis,” a club press release said.
“He left ASSE last June after his five-year academy training cycle. This solid and rangy defender contributed notably to the reserve team’s promotion to the National 2 league in 2017-18.”
It added that the club’s leaders and workers were “deeply affected” by Gomis’ sudden death and offered their deepest sympathies to his family.
The club had wished to keep Gomis in their reserve team, but the player turned them down and had not been in touch since the end of last season, Le Progres reported.
Gomis spent five years at Saint-Etienne but left in the summer despite speculation he was offered a new deal. He represented their B team in the Championnat National 18 times last season, regularly wearing the captain’s armband.
Tributes from his supporters and former teammates have flooded social media since the announcement of his death.
One Twitter user wrote: “Only 19. This is heartbreaking. Prayers for the family of William Gomis.”
Another said: “Too much death occurring as of late man. Rest In Peace to yet another up and coming young star. Long live William Gomis”.
Saint-Etienne midfielder tweeted: “Willy” next a crying emoji,
Anthony Maisonnial, who currently plays for FC Sion, shared a message on Twitter alongside several pictures of Gomis.
“I am shocked and especially sad,” he wrote.
“When I was called that night to be told, I thought I had a nightmare. All our moments and delights we have spent together will remain forever in my memory.
“Today my brother you left for the big trip. My prayers are going to you. May God open the doors of paradise. I cry as I say I love you my brother”.