Duangpetch Promthep, one of the 12 boys from the Wild Boars football club who were rescued from a flooded Thai cave in 2018, has died in the UK.
Duangpetch, who had moved to the UK to attend a college’s football academy, died on Tuesday, the Zico Foundation, which had supported his scholarship abroad, said. His death was also confirmed by Brooke House college in Leicester.
Duangpetch, known as Dom, was found in his dorm by a teacher on Sunday, and was taken by ambulance to hospital, Kiatisuk Senamuang, founder of the Zico Foundation, told an online press conference.
Duangpetch was treated at the hospital until Tuesday, but was unresponsive.
Duangpetch travelled to the UK late last year to attend the college.
“Dom was very happy with playing football there,” Kiatisuk said. “Dom was very fast, very smart, full of happiness.”
Ian Smith, principal at the Brooke House, said: “This event has left our college community deeply saddened and shaken.
“We unite in grief with all of Dom’s family, friends, former teammates and those involved in all parts of his life, as well as everyone affected in any way by this loss in Thailand and throughout the college’s global family.
“The college is liaising with statutory authorities and the Royal Thai embassy in London, and dedicating all resources to assist our student body, as they as young people process Dom’s passing.
“Beyond that, we are unable to comment further at this time and would ask for privacy and compassion as we continue to support the students in our care at this time, drawing on the kindness and assistance of the Market Harborough community.”
The cause of Duangpetch’s death has not been confirmed, but the BBC reported that Leicestershire police had said the death was not suspicious.
Before moving to the UK Duangpetch had written on social media: “Today, my dream has come true because I will become a football student in England.”
Duangpetch was captain of the Wild Boars, the football team that became trapped in Tham Luang cave complex in the Doi Nang Non mountain range in 2018. A 17-day international operation to free the boys captivated the world.
Duangpetch’s teammates were among those who left tributes on social media.
“You told me to wait and see when you get the national team’s call-up when we last met before you travelled to England. I was teasing that I need to get your autograph when you get back. Sleep well, my friend,” wrote Prachak Sutham, who was rescued with Duangpetch. Their team had been through a lot together, he said, “both joy and suffering”.
Titan Chanin Viboonrungruang, also from the Wild Boars, wrote: “You used to tell me that we will follow our dream in football. You’re a person who inspires me to improve and catch up with you. If there were to be a next life, I wish that we can play football together again, Dom. You will always be in my memory.”