Kolkata: Former India midfielder and East Bengal legend Surajit Sengupta, who was part of the national team that won a bronze medal in the 1970 Asian Games, died at a city hospital on Thursday following his prolonged battle with COVID-19.

He was 71

“Lost veteran star footballer Surajti Sengupta today. Heart throb of football fans and an outstanding national sportsman as well as a perfect gentleman, he will ever be in our hearts. Deepest condolences,” West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.

After being tested positive for COVID-19, Sengupta was admitted to the hospital on January 23 and was put on ventilator since last week. He breathed his last this afternoon.

Sengupta’s death came as a big shock to East Bengal which lost another legend Subhas Bhowmick last month.

Sengupta was part of the golden era in East Bengal when they won six successive Calcutta Football League titles (1970-1976) and the IFA Shield six times and the Durand Cup thrice.

Born on August 30, 1951, Sengupta started his football career at Kidderpore Club and went on to represent the Big Three clubs of the Kolkata Maidan.

He played for Mohun Bagan for two seasons from 1972 and in 1974, he made the red-and-gold his home for six years.

He signed up for Mohammedan Sporting in 1980 and later returned to Mohun Bagan at the fag end of his career.

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