Ligue 1 referee Johan Hamel has died at the age of 42.
The French Referees’ Union confirmed Hamel’s passing in a statement on their official website on Wednesday.
Hamel had officiated in the French top flight for more than a decade and made his Champions League debut as fourth official in Real Madrid’s win over Celtic earlier this month.
One of the most respected referees in France, Hamel’s final match in the middle was Lille’s 1-1 draw with Rennes on November 6.
He was also fourth official for PSG’s 5-0 win over Auxerre at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
L’arbitrage est en deuil. Nous apprenons le décès de notre Collègue et Ami, Johan HAMEL, arbitre de Ligue 1, à l’âge de 42 ans. A sa Famille, ses Proches et Amis, le SAFE et les Arbitres adressent leurs plus profondes condoléances. Johan, tu nous manqueras.
— SAFE (@ArbitresSAFE)
Hamel’s death comes two years after the passing of fellow French referee Sebastien Desiage at the age of 46 following a battle with illness.
LFP president Vincent Labrune said: “Johan Hamel was an experienced referee who had worked for many seasons in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. His sudden death is a terrible shock.
“Two years after the loss of Sebastien Desiage, his death again mourns French arbitration.
“In the name of all professional football, I send my condolences to Johan’s family and loved ones, as well as to SAFE and the FFF.”