Brighton and Hove Albion have announced the shock retirement of Enock Mwepu at the age of 24 after the midfielder was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition.
The 24-year-old fell ill while on a flight to link up with his Zambia team-mates in the international break last month and returned to Brighton to undergo further cardiac tests after a period in a hospital in Mali.
A statement from Brighton on Monday morning, October 10, revealed that Mwepu would have an extremely high risk of suffering a cardiac arrest should he continue playing competitive football.
In a statement, the club said the condition ‘would put Enock at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event if he were to continue playing competitive football’.
‘I am so sorry for Enock,’ Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi said.
‘Before I arrived I looked at all the squad, and he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with. We will do everything we can to help him.’
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom added: ‘We are all absolutely devastated for Enock.
‘He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just thankful he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short at such a young age.’
Mwepu has played six Premier League games for Brighton this season, with his most recent appearance coming in the 5-2 victory over Leicester on September 4.
The 24-year-old has been missing from the squad for all of the Seagulls’ last four matches since the recent international break.
Mwepu said he hoped to continue his involvement in the sport after receiving the devastating news.
‘A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share,’ Mwepu wrote in a statement on social media.
‘He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level, and by the grace of God he achieved his dream by reaching the Premier League.
‘Some dreams however come to an end, so it is with sadness that I announce the need to hang up my boots because of the medical advice I have received.
‘This is however not the end of my involvement with football, I plan to stay involved in some capacity.’
The Zambian international made 27 appearances for Brighton after arriving at the club from Red Bull Salzburg for around £18m in July 2021.