Aussie soccer player Tombides dies at 20
After a three-year battle with testicular cancer, West Ham United striker Dylan Tombides has passed away at the age of 20.PT0M0S 620 349
The football community is mourning the loss of promising Australian youth international Dylan Tombides after he died aged 20 following a three-year battle with cancer.
Tombides' English club West Ham United announced the Perth-born striker died with his family by his side on Friday having being diagnosed with testicular cancer following a routine drug test in 2011.
Dylan Tombides in action for the Socceroos at the AFC U-22 Championship.
Tombides, who was considered one of Australia's brightest young talents and a future Socceroo, made his senior debut for the Premier League club last year while being treated for the disease.
He represented his country only three months ago at the Under-22 Asian Championship having also played for Australia at U-17 level.
West Ham will hold a minute's applause in his memory before Saturday's Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Upton Park.
Back in his homeland, Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United players will wear black armbands and hold a minute's silence at Saturday's A-League elimination final in Gosford.
Tributes were flowing around the world for Tombides, with Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop saying Australian football had lost "a fine young man" and one of its most promising players.
"On behalf of the Australian football community, we offer our deepest condolences to Dylan's family, teammates and friends during this extremely sad time," Gallop said in a statement.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter also offered his condolences on Twitter, as did many fans, officials and players.
Socceroos star Tim Cahill tweeted: "I'm always grateful for life and I will pray for you. Rest in Peace my brother Dylan Tombides."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce described Tombides as "one of the bravest characters I have ever met".
"Nobody fought his dreadful disease as hard as this lad," Allardyce said.
"Football was his life and he didn't miss a day's training even when he wasn't fit enough to train because of his treatment.
"He had an incredible hunger for life, which was why he fought this terrible disease so strongly. All of our thoughts are with Dylan's family at this time."
Tombides played his early football in Perth and Hong Kong before joining West Ham as a 15-year-old.
After impressive performances for the Hammers at youth and reserve levels, he was named on the bench for the final Premier League fixture of the 2010/11 season against Sunderland.
In June 2011, Tombides represented Australia at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico where his disease was diagnosed when a random doping test uncovered a tumour in one of his testicles.
After treatment and months of recovery in London, Tombides battled back to make his West Ham first-team debut off the substitutes bench in a League Cup match against Wigan in 2012.
Tombides had been having treatment in Germany recently and spent his 20th birthday in hospital, posting a thank you message on Twitter to those who had supported him and vowing to continue fighting the disease.
Tombides had also worked hard to raise awareness of male cancer, supporting the One for the Boys campaign at a number of high-profile events with Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson, snooker player Jimmy White and singer Peter Andre.
Tombides' brother Taylor, a West Ham youth player, tweeted: "R.I.P. Dylan my beloved brother you will be missed, but never forgotten you was a massive inspiration to everyone."
Fellow players and football commentators have left their tributes via Twitter.
Leave your tribute to Dylan Tombides by making a comment.
R.I.P. Dylan my beloved brother you will be missed but never forgotten you was a massive inspiration to everyone❤️����⚽️— Taylor Tombides (@taylor_tombides) April 18, 2014
Very sad to hear Dylan Tombides has passed away. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Way to young to go.. #RIPDylanTombides— Mile Sterjovski (@MSterjovski) April 18, 2014
As a mark of respect, there will be a minutes silence prior to today's #ALeagueFinals match for Dylan Tombides who passed away overnight.— #CCMFC (@CCMariners) April 18, 2014
Following the passing of @whufc_official striker Dylan Tombides, age 20, there will be a minutes applause ahead of game at Upton Park.— Crystal Palace FC (@Official_CPFC) April 18, 2014
Very sad to learn of the passing of Dylan Tombides. A great young lad & player. Condolences to his family & friends #RIPDylanTombides— Frank Farina (@Frank_Farina) April 18, 2014
Such tragic news about Dylan Tombides. Thoughts are with his loved ones RIP— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) April 18, 2014
Devastated to hear the news of Dylan Tombides passing. Such a brave fight of this horrible disease. Our thoughts go to his family #whufc— Brad Jones (@Brad_Jones1) April 18, 2014
Can't believe it. Devastating news about Dylan Tombides. So tragic. Thoughts are with his family.— Ned Zelic (@NedZelic) April 18, 2014
Sending our thoughts and sympathies to the family, friends and teammates of Dylan Tombides. #RIPDylan— BrisbaneRoar (@brisbaneroar) April 18, 2014
It's dreadful to hear the passing of Dylan Tombides. Always sad when a young man with some much life and potential ahead passes early. #RIP— Francis Awaritefe (@FrancisAwartefe) April 18, 2014
Saddened to hear of the passing of Dylan Tombides... Another young life taken too soon by cancer. Thoughts with his family at this sad time— Luke Lewis (@LukeLewis1983) April 18, 2014
Gone way to young. R.I.P Dylan Tombides— Caitlin Foord (@CaitlinFoord) April 18, 2014
So shocked and saddened to hear Dylan Tombides lost his fight with cancer. Condolences to all his family and friends. #RIPDylan— David Zdrilic (@Zdrila) April 18, 2014
Absolutely terrible news about Dylan Tombides, a young Aussie who seemed to have the world at his feet after joining a West Ham. RIP.— Brad Walter (@BradWalterSMH) April 18, 2014
R.I.P @Dylantombides very sad news. No one ever deserves to pass away so young.— Ivan Franjic (@Franjic5) April 18, 2014