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Monday, 16 April, 2001, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Match abandoned as referee dies
Referee Mike North
Referee Mike North died in hospital
Referee Mike North suffered a fatal heart attack minutes before half-time in Southend's match against Mansfield at Roots Hall.

The official, from Wimborne, Dorset, collapsed in the centre circle three minutes before the break and died in hospital.

A hospital spokesman said: "Mr North arrived here at about 4.15pm and despite efforts here at the hospital and earlier at the ground, we were unable to resuscitate him.

"The cause of death will not be established until a post mortem has taken place but it appears he suffered a cardiac arrest."

The spokesman said Mr North, 41 was married.

Several people went to his aid as he lay motionless on the pitch and after about five minutes he was taken off.

The players left the field immediately and shortly afterwards there was an announcement on the public address system that the match had been abandoned.

All my players are stunned by what has happened
  Mark Kearney, Mansfield's assistant manager

Mr North was taken into a dressing room before being transferred to Southend General Hospital.

An Essex Ambulance Service spokesman said Mr North was unconscious when he was moved from the football ground to the hospital.

John Gowans, Southend United's physiotherapist, was one of the first on the scene to attend to Mr North.

He said: "When I got there he was lying face down and motionless. I checked his breathing and his pulse and both were shallow.

"The club doctor and others then took over but as far as I could see there was no response.

"Mr North was taken to the dressing room where the medics continued to work on him and he was then transferred to Southend Hospital.

"All the players are shocked and it puts life into perspective. You realise football is just a game."

Mark Kearney, Mansfield's assistant manager said: "The official just collapsed. There was no one really near him when he fell to the ground.

"All my players are stunned by what has happened."

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See also:

14 Apr 01 |  Eng Div 3
Exeter 2-2 Southend
14 Apr 01 |  Eng Div 3
Mansfield 0-0 Torquay
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