Former Southend, Stevenage and Oxford player Mitchell Cole has died, aged 27, the Football League has confirmed.
We are sad to hear former Southend, Stevenage and Oxford player Mitchell Cole has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.—
The Football League (@football_league) December 01, 2012
The former West Ham trainee retired as a professional player in February on medical advice after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition which causes an irregular thickness of the heart in certain areas.
He gave an interview to The Sun at the time in which he said: “A few players around the world die of this every year. The specialists told me that every day I have a one percent chance of dropping dead and sport quadruples that risk.
“When the doctor gave me the numbers and showed me images of my heart, it hit me hard.”
Cole did return to football to make a handful of non-league appearances, some of which came for Arlesey Town.
However, according to their director of football, Gary King, watching Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffer a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie with Tottenham in March convinced Cole to give up the game for good.