Belgian U-21 player, Junior Malanda, has died aged 20 in a car crash in Germany.
The midfielder had made 15 appearances for the German Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg, this season, including against Everton in the Europa League.
Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs said in a statement: “We are all deeply saddened and our disbelief can hardly be put into words.
“We can’t believe he is no longer with us. Our thoughts at this difficult time are with his family and loved ones.”
Allofs added: “He was the good spirit of our team and a fun-loving person. In addition, Junior was an excellent football player who was only at the very beginning of his development.”
Malanda was linked to Fulham and Crystal Palace when he left Zulte Waregem in 2013 but instead joined Wolfsburg, before going back on loan to the Belgian side.
His last game was a 2-1 win over Cologne on 20 December.
Wolfsburg police said Malanda was a passenger in a car that crashed on a motorway near the German city of Bielefeld.
He was en route to meet up with his team-mates to fly out to South Africa for a training camp.