Dutch cyclist Robert de Greef dies aged 27, three weeks after suffering heart attack

The rider fell ill during a race and medics performed CPR 'for hours' before he was placed in a medically induced coma

Dutch cyclist Robbert de Greef has died three weeks after suffering a heart attack, his team have announced.

The 27-year-old was on the first cobblestone sector of the Omloop van de Braakman when he suffered a cardiac arrest, being given CPR “for hours” before being taken to hospital in Antwerp and placed in a medically induced coma for 48 hours. The rider then spent the next three weeks in critical condition before passing away on the night of Thursday April 25 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

His UCI Continental team, Alecto, made the announcement of his passing on Friday morning, saying: “Unfortunately we have to confirm with great sorrow that Robbert died last night due to complications after his cardiac arrest. Thanks for everything Robbert, we will never forget you.”

Last week the team had said “there is some hope again” as De Greef’s condition was stable, if still critical, but said that when his health improved he would be eligible for a heart transplant. The team then lined up a few days later for the Arno Wallaard memorial race – in memory of another rider who died of heart issues.

De Greef rode for Professional Continental outfit Roompot in 2018, leaving the team as part of its merger with Vérandas Willems-Crelan. He finished second in Ronde van Drenthe last month behind countryman Pim Ligthart (Direct Energie).

Late last year, British Cycling announced its athletes will undergo yearly heart scans after a number of high-profile sporting figures suffered cardiac arrests.

Riders from academy to elite level with the British governing body will be assessed by health experts and could even be advised to retire if their safety is at risk.

At the 2018 Paris-Roubaix 23-year-old Michael Goolaerts (Vérandas Willems-Crelan) suffered a cardiac arrest while riding, causing him to crash. The rider was airlifted to hospital but died that day.

Cycling Weekly’s thoughts are with De Greef’s family, friends and team-mates at this time.

Upcoming events