German goalkeeper Enke left a farewell letter
German police have confirmed they have discovered a farewell note written by the Germany national goalkeeper Robert Enke, who died on Tuesday after being hit by an express train near Hanover.
“I can confirm that there is a farewell letter but out of respect to the family, we will not say anything more,” Lower Saxony police spokesman Stefan Wittke said.
The 32-year-old was hit by the train as it passed through a crossing at Neustadt-Eilvese on its route between Hamburg and Bremen. Police said the Hannover 96 captain’s car, parked metres away from the tracks, was unlocked and his wallet still inside. The two train drivers reported seeing a man on the tracks but could not stop in time, police reported. Enke was pronounced dead at the scene.
At a news conference Enke’s widow Teresa and his psychologist Dr Valentin Markser revealed he had been battling depression and was first treated for the illness in 2003. Teresa said Enke had feared that their adopted daughter Leila would be taken away if the illness became public knowledge. The couple adopted the eight-month-old in May. They lost their biological daughter Lara in 2006 when she died of a rare heart condition at the age of just two.
The German football federation today called off training for Saturday’s international friendly against Chile, putting the match in doubt.
“The training planned for this morning has been cancelled as have all interview appointments,” the national body said. “More information will be available later in the day.”
Enke had been diagnosed with a bacterial stomach virus several weeks ago and did not play for Hannover for two months, although he reappeared for Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Hamburg. He was not selected for Germany’s friendlies against Chile and Ivory Coast next Wednesday although Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, had said Enke – who won eight caps after making his debut in 2007 – remained the leading candidate to be his No1 in South Africa.
Enke made a total of 196 Bundesliga appearances, also playing for Borussia Mönchengladbach after starting in east Germany with Jena. He had spells at Tenerife, Fenerbahce, Barcelona and Benfica.
Barcelona held a minute’s silence in his honour before their Copa del Rey match against Cultural Leonesa, while Tenerife also paid tribute. “Tenerife want to convey their condolences and sympathy,” a statement said. “We will have a minute’s silence in the next game against Sevilla and will wear black armbands.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel contacted Enke’s family to express her support. Government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said: “A tragic death like this leaves no one unmoved and our thoughts are obviously with the family of the deceased. The Chancellor communicated her shock and compassion to the widow of Robert Enke in a very personal letter.”
Fans gathered at Hannover’s stadium to lay flowers and light candles at the gates in memory of their captain, who had been with the club since 2004, while other high profile figures from Enke’s career also paid tribute.
The former Germany captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer said on the DFB’s official website: “I am infinitely sad. When you receive news like this all other problems pale into insignificance.”
The Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi told Bild newspaper: “This can and must not be true. Robert was such a great bloke. I don’t know how I will tell my wife. She is very good friend’s with Robert’s wife. I feel for his family.”
Hamburg’s captain David Jarolim added: “I can hardly breathe because I’m so upset. This is a real tragedy, I can hardly believe it. First his little daughter dies and then this.”