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Friday, Nov. 13, 2009

Germany in mourning over passing of Enke

FRANKFURT (AP) Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper who was killed after throwing himself in front of a train, will be buried Sunday in a small ceremony near his home following a memorial service at the Hannover stadium.

News photo
Raw emotion: Teresa Enke, widow of Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, appears at a news conference in Hannover, Germany, on Wednesday. AP PHOTO

Hannover spokesman Andreas Kuhnt said Thursday that the memorial service would be held Sunday morning, with the burial to follow near Neustadt, outside Hannover.

The entire national team will attend the service, the German soccer federation said.

In the wake of Enke's death, his club urged the sport to rethink how it deals with the possible problems of its stars and to be more open about them.

Enke took his own life Tuesday evening when he stepped in front of a train near his Hannover home. His widow, Teresa, went on national television a day later to reveal that Enke had been suffering from depression for six years but did not want it to be known.

"It was a free decision by Mrs. Enke. I think she wanted to make the public aware of this subject," Hannover club president Martin Kind said. "We must learn how to open ourselves."

Kind was speaking after attending a religious service Wednesday evening with Enke's widow, some of his Hannover teammates, Germany coach Joachim Loew, national team captain Michael Ballack, federation president Theo Zwanziger and hundreds of Hannover citizens.

Later, about 35,000 people took part in a silent march to the city's stadium.

Kind was also the first to hint at Enke's problems when he said the goalkeeper had been "unstable" while confirming his death Tuesday.

The suicide of the 32-year-old Enke has left the soccer-mad nation stunned and in mourning.

"The tragedy of Robert Enke gives us cause to think about certain things that are usual and taken for granted in football," said Hannover general manager Joerg Schmadtke, himself a former goalkeeper. "We have to discuss the care of these young people."

Teresa Enke said her husband had kept his depression secret from the public because he had been afraid the couple's adopted 8-month-old daughter would be taken away from then if his illness was known. The couple's biological daughter died of a heart ailment when she was 2 in 2006.

In a suicide note, Enke apologized to his family and the staff treating him for deliberately misleading them into believing he was better, "which was necessary in order to carry out the suicide plans," said Valentin Markser, the doctor who treated him.

Enke's ailment was not known to his teammates or coaches.

"Robert played a perfect role, he misled the public perfectly," Schmadtke said. "By doing that he took away the possibility for us to help him."

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