Marco Tampwo died Sunday from a suspected heart attack days after testing positive for Covid-19. The 19-year-old Italian football star played for Serie D club Atletico Terme Fiuggi. He only started playing for the team for a month after transferring from Tuscan fourth-tier side U.S. Pianese. Now fans of the athlete are wondering if the cause of death was related to Coronavirus.
Tampwo fell ill over the weekend after receiving a positive Covid-19 test last week. He was quarantined at his family’s home in Mentana, Italy, a town close to Rome. After his condition rapidly declined, his parents called an ambulance. Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after but were unable to save him, reports claimed.
According to one report, Tampwo’s relatives saw the soccer star lying down and believed he was sleeping. After the family members called to him multiple times, they were afraid he was dead. Marco Tampwo’s family said that there was nothing to “foreshadow” his death. He was in “perfect health,” they told an Italian news outlet. He had just started his summer training with his new team, Atletico Termi Fiuggi.
An Italian media outlet said Marco Tampwo suffered a fatal heart attack, though it’s not clear if the heart attack was a symptom of his Covid-19 diagnosis. Tampwo’s soccer club, Terme Fiuggi, announced the player’s tragic death earlier this week.
“President Davide Ciaccia and the entire club mourn the death of our player Marco Tampwo.” The announcement continued, saying that Tampwo “only joined us a few weeks ago, but has left us prematurely aged just” 19 years old.
“We have no words to describe a tragedy such as this,” the team added. “Farewell Marco.”
Marco Tampwo’s former club, Pianese, posted its own announcement. “Marco spent two seasons with us, and made his debut in Serie D,” the announcement said. “He then transferred to Terne Fiuggi to be closer to his home. Such a tragedy is beyond description. All at US Pianese strongly embrace his family. Rest in peace, Marco.”
According to prosecutors, there is an investigation into the soccer player’s death. Investigators are awaiting the results of his autopsy to understand what happened to the young soccer star.
The Instagram account, @atleticotermefiuggi posted a picture of Marco Tampwo in his Fiuggi jersey. “Goodbye Marco,” the translated caption read. “It will be impossible to forget your smile.”
According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, it is possible for patients to have lingering heart problems during or after Covid-19. There are some common symptoms that affect patients for a long time after a positive test, such as “palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath,” the medical website wrote. The website also added that heart problems are another “long-hauler” that can affect those who have had Covid-19.
Covid-19 is known to cause damage to the heart muscle and affect its function. Cardiologist Wendy Susan Post said that “Type 2 heart attacks are common with Covid-19.”
She explained that this type of heart attack “can be caused by increased stress on the heart, such as a fast heartbeat, low blood oxygen levels or anemia, because the heart muscle isn’t getting enough oxygen delivered in the blood in order to do this extra work. We have seen this in people with acute coronavirus disease, but it is less common in those who have survived the illness.”
While autopsy results for Marco Tampwo have not been revealed, it’s possible that the football (referred to as soccer in the U.S.) star suffered from a Type-2 heart attack while experiencing his Covid-19 symptoms. The soccer player was reportedly a healthy individual who exercised regularly. His death worries many who have tested positive for Covid-19, even those who are not normally at high risk for serious symptoms.