PETALING JAYA: Terengganu's veteran goalkeeper Suffian Abdul Rahman has passed away at the age of 41.
The cause of his death was not known, but he has been warded at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital since Aug 1.
He was admitted for a heart attack, and doctors said he was stable but under observation throughout his stay there.
Fondly known as Tiger by his teammates, the player from Melaka is the oldest in the Malaysian League this season.
He was instrumental in the team's 2018 Malaysia Cup run, which saw them losing the final to Perak 4-1 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation time.
This season, Suffian had played 13 matches for the Turtles. He has not featured in the ongoing Malaysia Cup.
Having made his professional debut in 1999 with Negri Sembilan, Suffian had amassed more than 200 matches throughout his career.
He has played for teams like Melaka Telekom, Selangor, Kuala Muda Naza, Sarawak, Pahang, Felda United and Sime Darby in his 20-year career.
Suffian earned one international cap for Malaysia against Cambodia in 2007 after substituting then first-choice goalkeeper Azizon Abdul Kadir. He was also part of the Malaysian 2007 AFC Asian Cup squad but did not play any matches in the tournament.
Players like Melaka goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Penang goalkeeper Zamir Selamat, Perak winger Norhakim Hassan and current teammate Ahmad Syamim Yahya have expressed their condolences on social media.
Former teammate J. Partiban said Suffian was someone who always commanded the respect of his teammates.
"We fear him. Whenever he is on the pitch, we are always on our toes because of his 'tigerish' personality. He was truly a great goalkeeper, " said Partiban, who played with Suffian from 2017 to 2018.
"I only have fond memories playing with him. His passing is truly a great loss to Malaysian football."
His former coach Irfan Bakti was shocked to hear the news and said that it was a privilege to coach a keeper like Suffian.
"I was his first coach. I remembered watching him play for the president's team with Shukor Adan. He was committed and showed great potential, and that's when I decided to draft these two into the team.
"Eighteen years later, I signed him to play for Terengganu and played a significant part in our success in 2018. As a person, he is kind and doesn't talk much. His actions speak louder than his words.
"I am shocked because he was a great player. His loss will be felt, " he said.