Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes died Thursday. He was 25.
Walkes was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday after “two vessels collided,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Miami Herald. Walkes was reportedly found unconscious and was given CPR by Miami Fire Rescue before being transferred to a hospital, per the Miami Herald.
The club confirmed Walkes’ death in a statement. The team did not go into detail regarding the cause of Walkes’ death, saying he died “following an accident in South Florida.” Charlotte FC said it would not provide further statements on the matter “out of respect to Anton’s friends and family.”
Team owner David Tepper said Walkes “will be greatly missed by many.”
“Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” said Owner David Tepper. “Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time. The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
Team sporting director Zoran Krneta said the team was “heartbroken from the loss.”
“We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being,” said Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “Anton embodied what it means to be a part of Charlotte Football Club and our entire community is grieving over this tragedy. The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten. We are thinking of his lovely family during this time and will support them fully in every way imaginable.”
Major League Soccer also released a statement, calling Walkes a “talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans.”
Atlanta United, Walkes’ former club, called him “the epitome of a great teammate.”
Walkes was getting ready for his second season with Charlotte. The club selected Walkes in the 2021 MLS expansion draft. Walkes was the team’s second selection.
Walkes began his professional career with Tottenham in 2016. He played for the club through 2018. During that period, Walkes was loaned to Portsmouth and Atlanta United. He would later sign with both clubs, spending 2018 through 2020 with Portsmouth before going back to Atlanta United through the 2021 season.
This story will be updated.