MIAMI (AP) — Pro football player Anton Walkes has died from injuries sustained in a boat wreck off the coast of Miami, authorities said Thursday.
Wax, who was 25, was found unconscious and taken to a hospital after the accident between two boats Wednesday near the Miami Marine Stadium pool, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Walkes was piloting one of the boats that crashed, the state agency said in a statement.
It is not yet clear if anyone else was injured. The agency’s investigation is ongoing.
Walkes, a defender, entered his second season with MLS club Charlotte FC. The team arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 9 for the first phase of preseason training, with a friendly against St. Louis scheduled for Saturday. This match has been cancelled.
Charlotte Football Club owner David Tepper said everyone at the club was “devastated by the tragic death of Anton Walkes”.
“He was a wonderful son, father, partner and teammate whose joyful approach to life touched everyone he met,” Tepper said in a club statement.
Walkes joined Charlotte in the club’s debut MLS season in 2022. Last season, he played in 23 games with 21 starts and had five shots on goal.
“Anton made the people around him better people in all areas of life and represented FC Charlotte at the highest level both on and off the field,” Tepper said.
On Thursday, fans began placing flowers outside the east gate of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Walkes began his career at English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and also played for Portsmouth before signing with Atlanta United in the MLS, where he spent three seasons.
MLS released a statement saying “there are no words to describe the sadness felt by everyone in Major League Soccer today.”
“Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans,” the statement read.
In 2016, Major League Baseball player Jose Fernandez, star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, died in a boating accident off Miami Beach. Fernandez and two others died when their 32-foot boat crashed into a marina, authorities said.
Charlotte FC teammate Jaylin Lindsey said he was “heartbroken” when he learned of Wax’s death.
“Fly high my brother, you are the best teammate I could ask for,” Lindsay tweeted. “Love you man.”
Tottenham Hotspur also tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the death of former player Anton Walkes. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”