Former Ajax and DR Congo forward Jody Lukoki dies at 29
In unfortunate news, Jody Lukoki, formerly of FC Twente, Ajax Amsterdam and DR Congo has died as a result of unknown circumstances.
Lukoki was recently released from Twente and had been working towards match fitness to secure a move to a new club in the summer as a free agent.
The Eredivisie club had to let the winger go due to prolonged injury issues which led to off-field personal issues which were too much for him to deal with while being involved in professional football.
News of his death broke on Monday, and his former clubs have taken to social media to express their sadness and offer their condolences to his family.
"The club is shocked and deeply moved by this tragic event," a statement on the FC Twente website said. "FC Twente sympathizes with his loved ones and wishes them a lot of strength in processing this great loss."
Turkish Super Lig side Yeni Malatyaspor, where Lukoki played in the 2020/21 season before moving back to the Netherlands to play for Twente, posted on learning of his death: “We learned with sadness the news that Jody Lukoki, who sweated our club’s jersey in the 2020-21 Super League season, passed away.
“Our condolences to his family and community.”
Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle, where Lukoki played between 2014 and 2015, also paid tribute: "PEC Zwolle has learned with dismay and sadness of the far too early death of former player Jody Lukoki. Lukoki will forever be remembered as PEC Zwolle's first goalscorer in an official European game.
"PEC Zwolle wishes the relatives of Jody Lukoki a lot of strength to bear this enormous loss."
Ajax, where he won three Eredivisie titles as a player between 2010 and 2014, also took to their various social media to commiserate with his family and pay respects to him.
Lukoki was born in Zaire (present Congo) but immigrated to The Netherlands with his family following the first Congo war. He joined Ajax's academy in 2003 and in 2011, made his senior debut for the club.
He also represented the Netherlands at age grade level but eventually chose to play for his country, who he represented three times between 2015 and 2019.
He was nicknamed "The Son of the Wind" and is survived by family and siblings.
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