Former Japan soccer defender Naoki Matsuda dies

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TOKYO (AP) - Former Japan national defender Naoki Matsuda has died two days after suffering a cardiac arrest during training, his club said.

The 34-year-old Matsuda had been in critical condition after collapsing Tuesday during practice with his club Matsumoto Yamaga.

“He passed away today at 1:06 p.m.,” Yamaga president Hiroshi Otsuki said Thursday. “Since Tuesday there has been an outpouring of support from Matsuda fans all over Japan.”

Matsuda played 40 times for Japan, including the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He also played 385 J-League games for the Yokohama F Marinos from 1995-2010, helping the team to three J-League titles.

Matsuda collapsed after a 15-minute run. After an initial diagnosis of heat stroke, it was determined he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was unconscious on his arrival at a hospital and showed no response to heart massage.

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