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Rafael Henzel: Survivor of Chapecoense plane crash dies of heart attack

(CNN) Rafael Henzel, the Brazilian journalist who survived the airplane crash that killed most of the Chapecoense soccer team in November 2016, died Tuesday, the club has confirmed.

According to Globo, Henzel suffered a heart attack while playing football in Chapeco and died after being rushed to hospital.

Henzel, who was 45, was one of six people to survive the airplane crash that killed 71 of the 77 people on board.

The team was flying from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in Bolivia, to Medellin, Colombia, where it was set to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final when it crashed into a hillside. Nineteen players and 19 staff were killed. Just three players survived.

An investigation by the Colombian aviation agency concluded that a lack of fuel caused the plane to crash.



In a statement, the club paid tribute to Henzel, adding that he had become “a symbol of the rebuilding of the club.”

“The Chapecoense Football Association is publicly expressing its deep regret and sadness at the news of the death of journalist Rafael Henzel, which occurred Tuesday night,” a statement on the club’s website read.

“During his brilliant career, Rafael narrated, in an exceptional way, the history of Chapecoense. He became a symbol of the rebuilding of the club and, in the green and white pages of this institution, there will always be a remembrance of his example of overcoming and everything he has done, with love, for the team, for the city of Chapecó and all those who love football.

“We wish, with all our heart, that the family has the strength to face another difficult time and this irreparable loss. The feelings and prayers of all the chapecoenses, fans and listeners, are with you.”

Henzel was scheduled to report on the game between Chapecoense and Criciúma on Wednesday.

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