Brighton midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire from football at the age of 24 because of a hereditary heart condition.
The Premier League club said Mwepu would be at an “extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event” if he continued playing.
Mwepu had recently fallen ill on a trip with the Zambia national team to Mali.
He could not train after arriving in Mali last month and spent four days in the hospital.
Mwepu had tests on his return to England, and Brighton said the results meant the “only option” was for him to retire.
“These tests have concluded that his illness is due to a hereditary cardiac condition, which embodies later in life and was not previously evident on regular cardiac screening,” Brighton said in a statement.
“Sadly, this can be worsened by playing a sport, so Enock has been advised that the only option for his safety is for him to stop playing football.”
Mwepu said he was retiring with “sadness”, adding he had lived his dream of reaching the Premier League but that “some dreams come to an end”.
“This is, however, not the end of my involvement in football; I plan to stay involved in some capacity,” he said in a statement on Twitter,
The versatile player joined Brighton from Red Bull Salzburg on a four-year deal for a fee reported to be £18m in July 2021.
He scored three goals in 27 appearances for the club and last played in the 5-2 win over Leicester City in September.