Football: German coach Sascha Lewandowski found dead at 44

Sascha Lewandowski in a 2012 file photo.
Sascha Lewandowski in a 2012 file photo.PHOTO: EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - Two months after quitting his coaching job at German second-tier club Union Berlin due to burn out, Sascha Lewandowski was discovered dead at his home in Bochum, local police revealed on Thursday.

The 44-year-old who admitted to depression when he quit his job with Union Berlin in March, was suffering exhaustion, had cardiac issues and said he would need months to get his energy back.

The news sent a shockwave through German football.

"We just can't believe that Sascha is dead," said former Germany coach Rudi Voeller, sporting director at one of Lewandowski's former clubs, Bayer Leverkusen.

"He was a lovely man who put all his energy and passion into his work."

German national team general manager Oliver Bierhoff appeared equally stunned saying he was "stupefied and terribly sad".

In 2009, Germany international goalkeeper Robert Enke threw himself under a train, shocking the football world, while in 2014 former St Pauli player Andreas Biermann also ended his own life.

In 2007, Sebastian Diesler, once hailed as the future of German football, quit the sport after several bouts of depression at the age of 27.