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Bolivian football referee dies after collapsing during match

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 21-05-2019 Telegraph Sport
a man smiling for the camera: Bolivian referee Victor Hugo Hurtado poses at the start of Bolivia's first division football match between Always Ready and Oriente Petrolero © AFP Bolivian referee Victor Hugo Hurtado poses at the start of Bolivia's first division football match between Always Ready and Oriente Petrolero

A referee collapsed during a top-flight football match at the world's highest stadium and later died after being taken to hospital.

The shocking scenes took place at the Bolivian Primera Division match between Always Ready and Oriente Petrolero held at the El Alto Municipal Stadium, considered the highest professional football stadium in the world at 4,150 metres above sea level.

Referee Victor Hugo Hurtado, 32, collapsed in the 47th minute of the match. A video of the game shows medics treating him on the pitch, the assistant referees looking on worriedly as an oxygen tank is brought onto the pitch.

Members of the medical team then rush a stretcher onto the pitch before a replay shows Hurtado collapsing to his knees during the match.

View of the Municipal Stadium in El Alto, Bolivia on April 27, 2019. - Bolivian referee Victor Hugo Hurtado died on May 19, 2019, after collapsing in the field during a local first division match at the Municipal stadium of El Alto, located at 4,000 metres above sea level, medical sources informed. (Photo by Aizar RALDES / AFP)        (Photo credit should read AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images) View of the Municipal Stadium in El Alto, Bolivia on April 27, 2019. - Bolivian referee Victor Hugo Hurtado died on May 19, 2019, after collapsing in the field during a local first division match at the Municipal stadium of El Alto, located at 4,000 metres above sea level, medical sources informed. (Photo by Aizar RALDES / AFP) (Photo credit should read AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images)

Hurtado was rushed to the El Norte Hospital but was declared dead an hour later. The cause of death has not yet been officially determined but Always Ready president Fernando Costa said the referee had suffered "cardiac arrest."

The Bolivian Football Federation confirmed Hurtado¡'s death in a statement which expressed their solidarity with Hurtado's family.

Costa said it was "too early" to link Hurtado's death with the altitude of the stadium.

The fourth official Julio Fernando Gutierrez was brought in to complete the match which Always Ready won 5-0.

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