Joe Cole's brother-in-law dies aged 27 after retiring from football with heart condition
12:26 GMT, 1 December 2012
Former West Ham youth team player and Joe Cole's brother-in-law Mitchell Cole has died.
Cole, who was 27, had been forced to retire as a professional player in February last year owing to a deteriorating heart condition.
Writing on their official twitter feed, the League said: 'We are sad to hear former Southend, Stevenage and Oxford player Mitchell Cole has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.'
Tragic: Mitchell Cole died aged 27
A CAREER CUT SHORT
Mitchell Cole started his career at West Ham United as an academy player.
He was released in 2004 and joined Grays Athletic. He had short stints at Southend and Northampton before joining Stevenage in January 2007.
Here he established himself as a competent midfielder, and scored 20 goals before leaving for Oxford in June 2010.
It was at Oxford where he was convinced to retire altogether from professional football due to a deteriorating heart condition.
Cole, who was married to the sister of England international Joe Cole, scored for Stevenage against Kidderminster at Wembley in the 2007 FA Trophy Final.
He said last year he would be risking death if he were to play again.
In an interview with The Sun he said: 'A few players around the world die of this every year. The specialists told me that every day I have a one percent chance of dropping dead and sport quadruples that risk.
'When he gave me the numbers and showed me images of my heart, it hit me hard.'
Despite retiring from the professional game last year, Cole did make a handful of non-league appearances, some of which came for Arlesey Town.
However, according to their director of football, Gary King, watching Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffer a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie with Tottenham in March convinced Cole to give up the game for good.
King said: 'We were watching that game in the clubhouse and he turned to me and said “I'm not playing again”, although I'm told he might have been playing five-a-side in London last night.'
The PFA joined the Football League in expressing their condolences, tweeting: 'The PFA is deeply saddened by the loss of 27-year-old Mitchell Cole, our thoughts are with his friends and family.'
Shocking: Mitchell Cole was married to Joe Cole's (right) sister
It was during Cole's second year as an academy player at West Ham that he discovered the heart problem during a routine scan.
West Ham this morning tweeted: 'Everyone at West Ham United has been saddened to learn of the death of former Hammers Academy player Mitchell Cole at the age of 27. RIP'
The winger said in 2011 that he feared suffering the same fate as former Manchester City midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed and died on the pitch in 2003, aged 28.
Like Foe, Cole suffered from the same heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Upon hearing the tragic news, Arlesey tweeted: 'Have just been informed of the sad news that Mitchell Cole passed away last night the thoughts of everyone at Arlesey are with his family.'
Cole had tweeted last night about playing football.
On @mitchcole21 he wrote: “London tonight for the usual kick about with the lads!”