Paris, April 6: Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot said the coronavirus pandemic has affected the club "in the heart" following the death of club doctor Bernard Gonzalez, who French newspaper Le Parisien reported committed suicide after contracting COVID-19.
The Ligue 1 club posted a poetic tribute to the 60-year-old on Sunday, describing Gonzalez – who was said to be isolating with his wife after testing positive for the virus – as "a man of science and literature, with inexhaustible curiosity".
Reims' mayor, Arnaud Robinet, called Gonzalez a "collateral victim of COVID-19" and suggested the medical professional – who worked with the club for 23 years – had left a note.
The club's statement did not confirm the circumstances surrounding Gonzalez's death, instead paying tribute to the man and his passions, before Caillot expressed his shock.
In quotes published on Reims' official website, Caillot said: "Words fail me, I am stunned, prostrate before this news.
Médecin. Artiste. Stadiste.— Stade de Reims (@StadeDeReims) April 5, 2020
"This pandemic affects Stade de Reims in the heart. This is a personality of Reims and a great professional of the sport who left us.
"His mission to the club of more than 20 years has been carried out with the utmost professionalism, in a passionate and even selfless manner."