Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42. The former Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder has passed away following a long illness. Diop also represented West Ham and Birmingham in England, as well as winning 63 caps for his country Senegal.
Diop retired from professional football in 2013 after leaving Birmingham.
He started his career at Senegalese club ASC Diaraf in 1996 and had spells in Switzerland with Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers.
Diop moved to France to play for Lens in 2002 before he joined Fulham in 2004.
He spent three years at Craven Cottage, scoring nine goals in 84 appearances, before his switch to Portsmouth in 2007.
He was part of the Pompey side that won the 2008 FA Cup, coming on as a 78th minute substitute in the 1-0 win over Cardiff.
Diop played 72 times for Portsmouth before leaving to join AEK Athens.
He only had a brief spell at AEK between 2010 and 2011 before moving back to England with West Ham in 2011.
After one season with the Hammers, Diop joined Birmingham in 2012.
He made just two appearances in the Championship for the Blues before leaving in early 2013.
Diop’s international career began in 2001 and he played for his country at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
He will be remembered for scoring the goal to beat defending champions France 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.
Tributes have flooded in for the former midfielder since the news of his passing.
Portsmouth’s official Twitter account wrote: “We’re devastated to hear reports that FA Cup winner Papa Bouba Diop has passed away after a long illness, aged just 42
“Rest in peace, The Wardrobe.”
Fulham’s account posted a similar tribute to Diop.
The message read: “We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42.
“Rest well, Wardrobe.”
Lens also posted a message on their Twitter shortly after the news of Diop’s death.
The tweet read: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop, at the age of 42.
“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “How terribly sad. Taken so young. RIP Papa Bouba Diop.”
Former Portsmouth midfielder Chris Kamara also posted his thoughts after hearing the news.
Kamara tweeted: “Devastated to have just read the news that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away.
“Didn’t know he’d been ill and, at 42 years of age, he’s been taken too young.
“We used to have a good chuckle together about me calling him ‘The Man Mountain Himself’ RIP Papa.”