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Moldova soccer player Violeta Mitul dies aged 26 in hiking accident

CNN  — 

Moldovan soccer player Violeta Mitul has died aged 26 in a “tragic accident,” European soccer’s governing body UEFA announced on Friday.

“The 26-year-old defender was involved in a tragic accident while on a mountain hike with club-mates,” UEFA said in a statement. She died on September 4, her Icelandic club Einherji told CNN in a statement.

During her career, the defender became one of Moldova’s leading players, UEFA said, winning 40 caps for her country and playing soccer for clubs across Europe.

She was “kind-hearted, hard-working and always with a smile on her face,” her club told CNN, adding that “she was a trusting teammate and an exceptional football player.”

“The community of Vopnafjörður is devastated by this tragedy,” the club said. “Her passing is a great shock to us all and the hole she leaves behind is big.”

Violeta Mitul was playing club soccer in Iceland.

Mitul joined Einherji earlier this year but had previously played for clubs in Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Earlier in her career, she also won the Moldovan and Romanian Cups while playing for Alga Tiraspol and Vasas Femina respectively.

Moldova did not qualify for this year’s Women’s World Cup but Mitul played in all 10 of her country’s qualifying matches.

CNN has reached out to the Moldovan Football Association.