Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Fernando Clavijo, a U.S. 1994 World Cup defender who became a top coach, has died at age 63 after a battle with multiple myeloma cancer, his family announced Saturday.
Uruguayan-born Clavijo died Friday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a five-year fight with multiple myeloma, cancer of plasma cells (white blood cells).
A career that spanned more than 45 years as a player, coach and technical director led to Clavijo being inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.
“All of us in the US Soccer family are deeply saddened by the passing of Fernando Clavijo, one of the pioneers of soccer in the United States,” said US Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro.
“As a player, a coach, a mentor and a friend, Fernando impacted the lives of generations of people involved in the sport to which he dedicated his life. Our thoughts today are with his family and friends as we reflect on his great legacy.”
No details regarding funeral and memorial services were announced.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Fernando Clavijo’s passing on February 8 after a courageous battle with cancer,” the Clavijo family said in a statement.
“The support and encouragement he received from friends and the entire soccer community throughout his fight will always be appreciated.
“At this time the Clavjio family requests privacy as we mourn the loss of a great man.”
Clavijo, who played indoor soccer from 1981 through 1992, had 61 caps for the United States from 1990 through 1994.
He served as coach of Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution from 2000-2002 and the Colorado Rapids from 2005-2008, serving as coach for the Haiti national team in between.
Since 2012, he served as technical director for MLS side FC Dallas, stepping down last September to focus on health issues.
“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Fernando Clavijo, a gifted player, coach and sporting director,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
“Fernando was an important leader with three MLS clubs and he played a key role in the league’s player development strategy. More importantly, he was a joy to everyone who knew him and inspired countless young players.
“Fernando fought cancer with strength, courage and grace, and we are all heartbroken by the news of his passing.”
Multiple myeloma (Kahler’s disease)
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that begins in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. These cells are part of your immune system, which helps protect the body from germs and other harmful substances. In time, myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow and in the solid parts of bones.
No one knows the exact causes of multiple myeloma, but it is more common in older people and African Americans. It can run in families.
Common symptoms may include:
- Bone pain, often in the back or ribs
- Broken bones
- Weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections and fevers
- Feeling very thirsty
- Frequent urination
Doctors diagnose multiple myeloma using lab tests, imaging tests, and a bone marrow biopsy. Your treatment depends on how advanced the disease is and whether you have symptoms. If you have no symptoms, you may not need treatment right away. If you have symptoms, you may have chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, radiation, or targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.