Marton Fulop, former Sunderland goalkeeper, has died aged 32

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop has passed away aged 32
Image: Former Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop has passed away aged 32

Former Sunderland and Ipswich Town goalkeeper Marton Fulop has died aged 32 following a battle with cancer.

His first club, MTK Budapest, announced the news on Thursday morning.

In June 2013, Fulop, who won 24 caps for Hungary, announced he was taking a break from football to focus on his recovery after it was revealed he had undergone an operation to remove a tumour.

He spent four years with Sunderland before moving on to Ipswich, West Brom and then to Greece with Super League club Asteras Tripoli.

Marton Fulop made 24 appearances for Hungary
Image: Fulop made 24 appearances for Hungary

The goalkeeper also spent time on loan at the likes of Chesterfield, Leicester City and Manchester City at various stages of his career in England. 

A statement on MTK's official website read: "We are deeply sorrowful and grieved to announce that after a long illness, Marton Fulop has died."

Budapest-born Fulop joined Tottenham from MTK at the age of 21 in the summer of 2004 but did not make a first-team appearance for them and Spurs have paid tribute to their former goalkeeper on social media.

The club tweeted: "Everyone at the club is saddened to hear of the passing of our former goalkeeper Marton Fulop aged 32. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Marton Fulop celebrates while playing for Sunderland
Image: Fulop celebrates while playing for Sunderland

West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster tweeted: "Rest in Peace Marton Fulop, one of the good guys and taken way too early. Thoughts and Love go to the Fulop family."

A tweet from Ipswich said: "The club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former 'keeper, Marton Fulop. Rest in peace, Marton. Our thoughts are with Marton's friends and family at this immensely difficult time."

Sunderland's chief executive Margaret Byrne said on the club's website: "We are devastated to hear of Marton's passing. He was a genuinely lovely man, liked and respected by everyone at the club during his four years with us.

"It is desperately sad when we lose a member of our Sunderland family but to lose one so young and in such circumstances is simply heart-breaking. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club are with Marton's family and friends at this terribly sad time."

Marton Fulop celebrates with Gareth McAuley after Ipswich beat Arsenal 1-0
Image: Fulop celebrates with Gareth McAuley after Ipswich beat Arsenal 1-0

Niall Quinn, who was Sunderland chairman from 2006-2011, brought Fulop to the Stadium of Light and described the news as "tragic".

He told Sky Sports News HQ: "A most beautiful man who brought nothing but joy and a big radiant smile into the Sunderland dressing room. His care for others was noticeable every day, he was anxious and eager to assist younger players.

"He was just a beautiful man, that's the best way I can describe him and he was a huge character in our dressing room. The promotion year was real fun having him around. The goalkeeper is a very important part of your team but he was much more than that.

"The news today is so tragic - a beautiful family as well - and I echo the sentiments of all the players, ex-players, ex-colleagues and people who would have known him.

"One of the tweets there said he was one of the good guys, I can tell you he was one of the very best."

Former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn described the news of Marton Fulop's passing as tragic
Image: Former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn described the news of Fulop's passing as tragic

Fulop competed with £9m signing Craig Gordon for the No 1 jersey while at Sunderland and Quinn said the club and then-manager Roy Keane were impressed with his attitude.

He added: "That obviously stood against him the fact we had paid so much money for Craig Gordon and there was no sulking, he accepted it and hoped he would get some minutes, some game time to impress us and he did and at times Roy Keane kept him in the side, even if Craig was coming back from injury.

"It was touch and go whether the club would sign Craig due to the form Marton was showing in that pre-season that Craig Gordon came. It was a tight call.

"His integrity as a footballer, his work ethic on the training ground and his ability to assist others, even Craig Gordon, there was no jealousy there - he pushed and helped make Craig a better goalkeeper, and I can say nothing but good things but also how tragic this news is."

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