Former Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop dies at 32

Marton Fulop in action for Sunderland. He lost his battle against cancer today, at the age of 32.
Marton Fulop in action for Sunderland. He lost his battle against cancer today, at the age of 32.

Ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop has died from cancer at the age of 32, it was announced today.

Fulop, who played for nine English clubs, had a tumour removed from his arm in June 2013.

In February last year he was a guest of Sunderland at the Carling Cup final against Manchester City, and said he still intended to return to playing.

Sadly, he never made it, and his death was announced today.

A statement on the official website of Hungarian club MTK Budapest read: "We are deeply sorrowful and grieved to announce that after a long illness, Marton Fulop has died."

Fulop, who had battled cancer in recent years, played for the Black Cats between 2006 and 2010.

The club’s chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “We are devastated to hear of Marton’s passing.

"He was a genuinely lovely man, liked and respected by everyone at the club during his four years with us.

“It is desperately sad when we lose a member of our Sunderland family, but to lose one so young and in such circumstances is simply heart-breaking.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club are with Marton’s family and friends at this terribly sad time.”

Flags at the Stadium of Light and the club’s Academy of Light training base are flying at half-mast as the club pays its respects.

After starting his career in Hungary, Fulop signed for English club Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2004.

Loan periods with Chesterfield and Coventry was followed by a spell on loan with Sunderland, with whom he permanently signed in 2007.

He made 45 appearances for the Blacks Cats over three seasons, and further loans to Leicester City, Stoke City and Manchester City ended with a transfer to Ipswich Town.

Fulop also represented his country at under-21 and full international level.

Former clubs and teammates took to social media to express their condolences as soon as the news broke.

Danny Higginbotham, who played with him at Sunderland, said on Twitter: "So sad to hear the news of Marton Fulop. Spent a lot of time with him @SunderlandAFC one of the good guys. Thoughts with his family."

And another ex-Black Cats player, Stephen Elliott, Tweeted: "‏Really saddened to hear that my ex-team mate Marton Fulop has passed away.Thoughts are with his family and friends at this awful time. #rip"