Anton Walkes, a defender for Major League Soccer team Charlotte FC, has died from injuries suffered in a boating accident at age 25, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said in a statement.
The FWC said that, around 3 pm on Wednesday, FWC officers attended a two-vessel accident near the Miami Marine Stadium basin. Walkes was unconscious and later received CPR after being transported to shore by Miami Fire Rescue.
“Mr. Walkes was taken to an area hospital where he later died from his injuries. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Mr. Walkes during this difficult time,” the statement said. The FWC said that the investigation is ongoing.
Charlotte FC confirmed the “tragic and heartbreaking” death in a statement.
“Charlotte Football Club can confirm the tragic and heartbreaking news that defender Anton Walkes passed away early Thursday morning following an accident in South Florida,” the Charlotte FC statement read.
Charlotte FC owner David Tepper described Walkes as a “tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met.
“He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time,” Tepper said. “The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
Walkes came through the youth ranks of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, before going on to play for Portsmouth and Atlanta United.
Walkes moved to the United States to join Atlanta on loan in 2017, the team’s first MLS season, and then joined the club permanently in 2020 after another spell at Portsmouth.
Walkes then joined Charlotte FC for the 2022 MLS season.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes,” his former club Atlanta United FC said in a statement. “An inaugural member of Atlanta United, Anton was the epitome of a great teammate with a personality that lit up every room he entered.
“He will be deeply missed by all of those who knew him. On behalf of everyone at Atlanta United, we send our deepest condolences to Anton’s family, friends and Charlotte FC.”
Zoran Krneta, the Charlotte FC sporting director, said the club is “heartbroken” at the loss of “a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being.”
“Anton embodied what it means to be a part of Charlotte Football Club and our entire community is grieving over this tragedy,” Krneta added.
“The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten. We are thinking of his lovely family during this time and will support them fully in every way imaginable.”