Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland fan who collapsed at Euro 2016 match 'died doing what he loved'

A fan who collapsed and died while watching the Northern Ireland game was doing what he loved, his family have said.

Medics among the Northern Ireland fans raced to help Robert "Archie" Rainey, 64, during the European Championship fixture in Lyon, but it was too late and he died shortly afterwards on Thursday evening.

His family in Belfast said they are devastated.

"The family wish to confirm the sad news that our father Robert Rainey, known to everyone as Archie, has sadly passed away whilst in France supporting Northern Ireland at the Euros surrounded by all his friends and family, doing what he loved best."

Fans left shirts, scarves and flags in the stand in tribute.

It was the second tragedy to strike the travelling Green and White Army of Northern Ireland supporters after Darren Rodgers, 24, from Ballymena, fell eight metres from a promenade in the south coast city of Nice to his death on Monday.

Eyewitness Maurice Dickson, originally from Belfast, said: "It was quite a distressing thing to see, particularly coming so quickly after Darren Rodgers passed away as well.

"For it to happen twice in such a short space of time to one of your own - it is very sad."

The Parc Olympique Lyonnais was packed with faithful who travelled to France in their droves to see their side's 2-0 victory over Ukraine in their first major tournament for 30 years.

Mr Dickson, 53, who lives near Manchester, said he noticed someone calling to a steward for help and it was clear the man was in some distress.

"There were a couple of paramedics or doctors amongst the Northern Ireland supporters because they stepped up over seats past us to get up there and then the medical team in the stadium came running up the stairs.

"They must have worked on the gentleman for 10-15 minutes, and one of the female stewards escorted the lady down the stairs who I assume was the gentleman's wife.

"They worked on him for quite a while and had a defibrillator brought up.

"Shortly after that, the stewards were holding up blankets and some other stewards moved the supporters to other seats. They held up blankets because unfortunately the gentleman had passed away."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Irish Football Association and many players expressed condolences to the dead man's family.

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