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Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes dies in Miami boating accident

Defender Anton Walkes, who died in a boat accident Wednesday in Miami, was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for training with Charlotte FC. Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC
Defender Anton Walkes, who died in a boat accident Wednesday in Miami, was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for training with Charlotte FC. Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC

MIAMI, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes died after he was involved in a boating accident in Miami, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told UPI on Thursday. He was 25.

Public information coordinator Ashlee Sklute said conservation commission officers responded about 3 p.m. EST Wednesday to a two-vessel accident near Miami Marine Stadium and found Walkes unconscious.

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Sklute said Miami Fire Rescue first responders then transported Walkes to shore, where he received CPR. He then was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.

The matter remains under investigation by agency officials, who declined to provide additional details about others potentially involved in the crash.

"Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes," Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said in a news release. "He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met.

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"Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton's family during this heartbreaking time. The club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning."

Walkes, a London native, started his senior career in 2016 with Tottenham Hotspur of England's Premier League. He went on loan in 2017 to MLS club Atlanta United and in 2018 Portsmouth, an English Football League One team.

He returned to Atlanta United in 2020-21. Walkes, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, appeared in 23 games last season for Charlotte FC.

"There are no words to describe the sorrow of everyone in Major League Soccer today after learning of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes of Charlotte FC," MLS said. "Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans."

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Charlotte FC departed for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 9 for the start of a 12-day training camp. They are scheduled to face St. Louis City SC in a scrimmage, which is closed to the public, Saturday at Florida Blue Training Center in Fort Lauderdale.

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