Czech Republic Footballer Frantisek Rajtoral Dies at 31 After Suicide at Home

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2017

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 2:  Frantisek Rajtoral of FC Viktoria Plzen in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Viktoria Plzen held on October 2, 2013 at the Stadion Petrovski, in St Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Czech Republic international Frantisek Rajtoral has died aged 31 after taking his own life at his home, where he was reportedly found hanged Sunday.

Ibrahim Kizil, president of the midfielder's Turkish club Gaziantepspor, confirmed the news to Turkish outlet Sporx (h/t the Guardian's Ed Aarons):

Unfortunately I can confirm that the news of suicide is true. 

His team-mates were concerned after Rajtoral didn’t participate in today’s training session. He had good spirits, he didn’t seem to have any problem. I really don’t know why he did such a thing.

After his absence from Sunday's training session was noted, Gaziantepspor notified authorities who discovered Rajtoral at home.

The club paid tribute to him on Twitter, along with former club Viktoria Plzen, the Czech FA and UEFA:

Gaziantepspor Kulübü @GaziantepsporSK


FC Viktoria Plzeň EN @fcviktoria_en

RIP https://t.co/N5NaouzL3q

Česká fotbalová reprezentace @ceskarepre_cz

Děkujeme za všechno, Františku! Upřímnou soustrast rodině i všem přátelům… https://t.co/tru0pM3OyQ


Saddened to hear of the death of Czech international František Rajtoral. Our condolences to his family, @ceskarepre_cz & @GaziantepsporSK https://t.co/orEYq1GdIo

Per Aarons, Plzen released an accompanying statement that read, "Rest in peace Rajt, we will all miss you so much, we will never forget you."

More than one in 10 deaths in professional football are attributed to suicide, according to the findings of a study carried out by former footballer and chief medical officer for players' union FIFPro Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge in 2013.

Gouttebarge also found that more than a quarter of current professional players suffer from depression or anxiety.

The 41-year-old told Aarons, "It’s always sad to hear that someone might have committed suicide. Every year we monitor deaths of current and retired players but of course it can be difficult to speculate on the cause of death."

Rajtoral began his career at Prague-based side Marila Priblam in 2004 before joining Banik Ostrava the following year.

He made 100 appearances for Ostrava in a four-year spell and signed for Plzen in 2009, where he would make more than 200 outings in seven yearsaside from a brief loan move to Hannover 96 in 2014and win four league titles and the Czech Cup.

Rajtoral moved to Gaziantepspor last summer, making 23 appearances this season.

He made 14 appearances for the Czech Republic's senior side. In 2012, he helped the Czech Republic reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA European Championships.


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