Maddy Cusack, a midfielder in English soccer’s second division, died on Wednesday, according to her team Sheffield United. She was 27.
The club said in a press release it was “devastated to report the sad news” of Cusack’s passing.
A tribute was held for her before Sheffield United men’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle on Sunday, as family members walked onto the pitch and Sheffield United players wore replicas of her jersey before kickoff.
Sheffield United did not report a cause of death, but said that tributes and discussions on how to celebrate her life with suitable tributes are continuing.
Stephen Bettis, Sheffield United’s chief executive officer, said: “This is heartbreaking news for everyone at Bramall Lane. Maddy had a unique position of being part of a number of teams at Sheffield United and was popular with everyone that she came into contact with.
“Her personality and professionalism made her a credit to her family – she will be sadly missed. Whilst taking in the news and moving forward, the Club will offer as much support as possible to Maddy’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Cusack’s brother, Richard, quoted the Sheffield United post on X and wrote: “My beautiful sister. May you rest in peace Maddy.”
Cusack made more than 100 appearances for Sheffield United over five seasons and also worked in the club’s marketing department, according to the team. She was the first player since Sheffield United entered the English Women’s Championship to reach the 100-game milestone.
Cusack signed a new one-year contract with the English team in July, noting in an announcement video: “I think everyone knows how much I love this club. This club is my home.”
Sue Campbell, the English Football Association’s (FA) director of women’s football, said in a statement: “We are all devastated to learn about the passing of Maddy Cusack.
“On behalf of the FA, the Lionesses, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship, our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Maddy’s family, friends, team-mates and everyone at Sheffield United.
“Maddy also represented England at age-group level and we will pay tribute to her at an appropriate point. We are in contact with the club and will continue to offer them our full support during this incredibly sad time.”
Birmingham City, one of Cusack’s former teams, posted condolences on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
“The Club are saddened to learn of the passing of former player Maddy Cusack,” it reads. “All of our thoughts are with Maddy’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”