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Referee in Bolivia, Victor Hugo Hurtado, Dies After On-Field Collapse

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2019

View of the Municipal Stadium in El Alto, Bolivia on April 27, 2019. - Bolivian referee Victor Hugo Hurtado died on May 19, 2019, after collapsing in the field during a local first division match at the Municipal stadium of El Alto, located at 4,000 metres above sea level, medical sources informed. (Photo by Aizar RALDES / AFP)        (Photo credit should read AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images)
AIZAR RALDES/Getty Images

Victor Hugo Hurtado, a referee in Bolivia, has died in hospital after collapsing during a match.

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN FC), the 31-year-old was taking charge of a Bolivian top-flight match between Always Ready and Oriente Petrolero on Sunday when he collapsed in the 47th minute.

He was taken from the stadium in an ambulance after being attended to on the pitch, but then died in hospital.

According to Always Ready team doctor Eric Kosziner, Hurtado had a heart attack on the field and then another later at the hospital, which proved fatal.

The Bolivian football federation issued a statement on Instagram (h/t BBC Sport) offering "solidarity and support in this moment of pain" to Hurtado's family and decreeing "mourning in national football for seven days."

The match, which ended in a 5-0 victory for the hosts, was taking place at Always Ready's Municipal Stadium in El Alto.

At approximately 3,900 metres (12,795 feet) above sea level, it is among the highest stadiums in world football, eclipsing even La Paz's Estadio Hernando Siles.

FIFA briefly banned international matches from taking place at more than 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) above sea level back in 2007, citing concerns over players' health. 

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, offered his condolences to Hurtado's family on Twitter (h/t BBC Sport):

"We regret the passing of referee Victor Hugo Hurtado. We send our condolences and solidarity to your family, friends and colleagues. Bolivian football is in mourning."

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