Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes dies at age 25

Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes died early Thursday from injuries he suffered in a boat crash off the coast of Miami. He was 25.

Walkes was found unconscious and taken to a hospital after the crash between two boats Wednesday near the Miami Marine Stadium basin, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Walkes was operating one of the boats that crashed, the state agency said in a statement.

It was unclear whether anyone else was injured. The agency’s investigation is ongoing.

Charlotte FC confirmed his death Thursday morning.

“We are deeply saddened to share that Anton Walkes has tragically passed away this morning,” the club said in a statement. “May he rest in peace.”

Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said all at the club were “devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes.”

“He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyful approach to life touched everyone he met,” Tepper said in the club’s statement.

Walkes joined Charlotte for the club’s debut MLS season in 2022. He played in 23 matches with 21 starts and had five shots on goal this past season.

“Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch,” Tepper said.

Charlotte teammate Jaylin Lindsey said he was heartbroken to learn the news.

“Fly high my brother, you’re the best teammate I could’ve asked for,” Lindsey tweeted. “Love you man.”

A native of London, Walkes was a graduate of Tottenham Hotspur academy (2013-17) and played for MLS teams Atlanta and Charlotte, who selected Walkes in the 2021 expansion draft.

Major League Soccer said in a statement: “There are no words to describe the sorrow of everyone in Major League Soccer today after learning of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes of Charlotte FC. Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans.”

Tottenham Hotspur also tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player, Anton Walkes. The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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