ISTANBUL - Former Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe defender Sedat Balkanlı died early yesterday, following a 12-year battle with ALS disease.
Balkanlı had his career-best season in the 1994-1995 campaign, when he scored an impressive number of eight goals for Galatasaray, all from headers, aptly earning him the nickname "The Golden Head."
Diagnosed with ALS in 1997, Balkanlı battled on despite doctors initially predicting he would not live more than two years.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. Former New York Yankees baseball star Lou Gehrig was one of the first famous people to die from ALS, causing the disease to be also remembered as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Physicist Stephen Hawking is probably the best-known living ALS patient now.