SAO PAULO (AP) — A journalist who was one of the six survivors of the Chapecoense soccer team air crash died Tuesday night after a heart attack.
Rafael Henzel, who was 45, died in the southern Brazilian city of Chapeco. Radio Oeste Capital, where he worked, said the journalist died in a local hospital after feeling ill during a soccer match with friends.
Henzel, three Chapecoense players and two LaMia airline workers survived the November 2016 accident near Medellin, Colombia. Their jet ran out of fuel in an incident that authorities still investigate.
The crash killed 71 people, including 19 players of the Brazilian club that was en route to the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional.
Chapecoense was later declared posthumous champions of South America’s second most prestigious tournament.
The Brazilian club issued a statement saying Henzel was “a symbol of our reconstruction.” Since the crash, Chapecoense has had a tougher time on the field and finished 14th in Brazil’s top division last season.
After Henzel’s death, Chapecoense asked the Brazilian soccer confederation to postpone its cup match against Criciuma on Wednesday, but the soccer body refused.
Defenders Alan Ruschel and Neto and goalkeeper Jakson Follmann, the three Chapecoense players that survived the crash, attended Henzel’s funeral.
In 2017, Henzel released a book called “Live as if you were about to leave,” discussing the impact the accident had on his life.
The journalist was married and had one son.