AN EX-AC Milan youth player killed himself after suffering from constant racial abuse.
Tributes have poured in after Seid Visin, 20, was found dead at his home in Campania, Italy.
Visin, who played at the youth academies of AC Milan and Benevento, was born in Ethiopia but as a child moved to Italy.
He was adopted by a his parents Walter and Maddalena in Nocera Inferiore and went on to pursue his dream of becoming a footballer.
However, the promising young player decided to instead to focus on his studies as he retired from the sport in 2016 – but continued to play five-a-side with Atletico Vitalica.
It was the club who announced his tragic death as he is reported in Italian media to have taken his own life at his family home in Nocera.
And the racism he suffered in life has come into the spotlight after a heartbreaking letter he wrote was read aloud at his funeral on Saturday, reports Corriere.
"Now, wherever I go, wherever I am, wherever I am I feel on my shoulders, like a boulder, the weight of people's skeptical, prejudiced, disgusted and frightened looks," he wrote.
Visin explained he had felt the increase in the racism he suffered was fuelled in part by the numbers of migrants settling in Italy.
He recounted a story while working as a waiter when an elderly white woman refused to be served by him.
The young man heartbreakingly said he felt like he had to "prove to people, that they didn't know me, that I was like them, that I was Italian, that I was white".
He wrote it was if he was "ashamed of being black, as if I was afraid of being mistaken for an immigrant".
The letter was first penned in January 2019 and was sent to some of his friends and his psychotherapist, reports Italian media.
Italian national team goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was roommates with Visin while he was at AC Milan.
The 22-year-old stopper was one of many in the footballing community to pay tribute to his friend.
"I met Seid as soon as I arrived in Milan, we lived together in a boarding school, a few years have passed but I can’t and I don’t want to forget that incredible smile of his, that joy of life," Donnarumma said told ANSA.
"He was a friend, a boy like me."
'WE ALL SUCK'
Italian footballer Claudio Marchisio also addressed his death in a post Facebook shared almost 9,000 times, saying: "We are the country of integration when you are a young talent or when you score the decisive goal in an important match, but which refuses to be served in a restaurant by a black guy."
He added: "I can't even imagine what Seid Visin felt, but I am sure that a country that pushes a young boy to make such an extreme gesture is a country that has failed.
"Think about it when you make your foolish jokes, when you make stupid and cynical speeches about rafts and skin color, especially on social networks.
"We suck a little. All."
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Speaking at his funeral, priest Don Andrea Annunziata condemned the "deflagrant power of evil" he believed caused Visin's death.
He said: "The lesson we are called to learn is that which sees us engaged in stepping out of our solitude.
"There are fragile hearts that implode. Seid's was one of them. It can't happen again."
Announcing his death on Thursday, Atletico Vitalica posted a tribute on Facebook in which they remembered Visin's "smile and undisputed talent".
"You are and you will remain in the history of each of us, because eternal are the bonds of those who love without asking for anything in return," the club said.
It added: "You made participation the only real victory sought and the company the only reward you needed. You go away as you arrived: leaving us stunned, speechless."
In a tweet, AC Milan wrote "there are no right words to say goodbye to a 20-year-old boy."
And their city rivals Inter Milan added: "We are sending condolences to Seid Visin’s family in this moment of great pain."
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