Hull City's rivals Millwall announce tragic death of goalkeeper Matija Sarkic

Matija Sarkic in action for Millwall last season
-Credit: (Image: Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Millwall have announced the devastating death of Grimsby-born goalkeeper Matija Sarkic while away on international duty with Montenegro.

Sarkic, who played 90 minutes against City in Millwall's 1-0 defeat at the MKM Stadium in early March, is reported to have fallen ill while away in Budva and while friends called for an ambulance, he was pronounced dead around 6:30am local time on Saturday morning.

The 26-year-old played against Belgium in a pre-Euro 2024 friendly last Thursday and was named Man of the Match despite the 2-0 defeat, and was looking forward to another campaign at Millwall's number one.

Having come through the ranks at Anderlecht's academy, Sarkic had spent much of his football career in England playing for the likes of Aston Villa, Wolves, Birmingham City and Stoke City.

In a statement posted early on Saturday morning, Millwall expressed their devastation at the news: "Millwall Football Club is completely devastated to announce that Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26. Sarkic, The Lions' number one goalkeeper, made 33 appearances for the club since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 2023.

"A Montenegro international, Matija proudly represented his country on numerous occasions. Everyone at the club sends their love and condolences to Matija's family and friends at this immensely sad time. The club will make no further comment at this time and asks that the privacy of Matija's family is respected."

Tributes have been quick to pour in from across football with Millwall's official supporters' club echoing those thoughts of the South London club.

"What horrendous news to wake up to this morning that our goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has died at the young age of 26. Devastating news for his friends and family and for all of us associated with Millwall. Once a lion, always a lion."

His former club, Aston Villa, meanwhile, added: "Difficult to put the news of this morning into words. Former Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has passed away at the age of 26. Rest in peace, Mati. You and your family are in our thoughts."

Last term, the goalkeeper played 31 times and in playing against Belgium last week, notched an eighth cap for his country against the country where he began his career.