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Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

German goalkeeper Enke killed by train

Player left suicide note

HANOVER, Germany (AP) Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke left behind a suicide note, police said Wednesday, one day after the 32-year-old was hit by a train.

Enke died Tuesday night when he was struck outside Hanover, where he played his club soccer. His agent has said it was a suicide.

Police spokesman Stefan Wittke would not reveal where the note was found, but said all evidence pointed to suicide.

"There is no evidence that would raise doubts about a suicide," Wittke said.

There was no immediate word on what the possible reasons might have been.

Hundreds of Hanover fans gathered Wednesday at the club's stadium to pay tribute to Enke. Hanover set up a condolence book outside the AWD Arena, and some supporters lit candles and left scarves and shirts in tribute.

Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a "very personal" note to Enke's widow, Teresa, to convey her "consternation and compassion," government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said.

Thomas Bach, president of the German Olympic committee, called Enke's death "really tragic."

"When you see how many blows of destiny he had to overcome in the past years, how he always carried on and stood up, that shows his human qualities. That's why it's that much more tragic that he saw no way out any longer," Bach said.

Enke and his wife lost their 2-year-old daughter to a heart ailment in 2006. The couple adopted a girl in May who is now 8 months old.

Enke's death has shocked his Germany teammates as they prepare for two international exhibitions.

"I'm stunned. I don't know what to say," captain Michael Ballack told the Bild daily.

The national team canceled a training session Wednesday morning and delayed a planned news conference amid reports that one of the matches may be canceled.

Enke had not been selected for Saturday's match in Cologne against Chile nor Wednesday's game against Ivory Coast in Gelsenkirchen because he had only recently returned from an intestinal bacterial infection.

The illness had kept him sidelined for nine weeks and forced him to miss four matches with the national squad.

German Football League president Reinhard Rauball, whose organization runs the Bundesliga, said there would be a minute's silence before the next round in the top two divisions on Nov. 21-22 and that all players would wear a black armband.

"We are shaken by the tragic death of Robert Enke," Rauball said. "He was an outstanding sportsman and a special person."

Enke, who played eight matches for Germany, was a front-runner for the goalkeeping job at next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Real Madrid humbled

MADRID (AP) Real Madrid crashed out of the Copa del Rey after losing 4-1 on aggregate to third-tier club Alcorcon on Tuesday.

Madrid won 1-0 at home at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after losing 4-0 in the first leg two weeks ago.

Madrid also lost in the second round last year to another third-division club — Real Irun.

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