The Panamanian soccer community is in mourning today after the sudden death of former national team player Luis Tejada at the age of 42. Tejada, affectionately known as "Matador", collapsed on the field during a recreational game near Panama City and was rushed to hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him.
Tejada was a national hero, leading Panama to their first appearance in history at the World Cup in Russia 2018. He left behind as the all-time top scorer with an impressive 43 goals in 108 appearances. He enjoyed great popularity in his country, but he was also known throughout America by real soccer fans.
The news that he died on the field echoed in a few minutes throughout the media in Panama, but we still do not know the official cause of death.
Born and raised in Panama, Tejada began his professional career in his homeland before embarking on a world tour that saw him play in Colombia, the United States, Peru and Mexico.
Although his career never took him to Europe, his influence on Panamanian soccer was undeniable. After playing at the World Cup in Russia, he became a national icon, and will be remembered as Panama's greatest soccer legend of all time.
"He was a symbol of the development of soccer in Panama," the Panamanian Soccer Association said in a statement. "Luis inspired countless young players and brought immense joy to the nation with his passionate performances on the pitch.
Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Matador, you will never be forgotten." Tejada's death is a tragic loss for the Panamanian sports world and beyond. He was not only a great soccer player, but also a beloved figure, known for his infectious charm and dedication to his country, which is why he enjoyed such great popularity.
His legacy will surely live on in the hearts of fans and young players who will be inspired by him to make a big career out of small Panama.