Soccer Star Avi Cohen Dead at 54
Former Israel and Liverpool defender thrown from motorcycle last week
It was the son of Avi Cohen, iconic Israeli soccer defender, who announced at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that his father was declared brain dead. The family, at the advice of a number of rabbis, decided not to disconnect him from life support and his heart stopped beating on its own in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Cohen is one of Israel's biggest soccer stars, playing for the national team and for Liverpool in the English Premier League. He was thrown from his motorcycle in a collision with a car last Monday in Tel Aviv where he suffered severe head wounds.
Tamir Cohen, Avi's son, is currently an international professional soccer player for the Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League and the Israeli national team. At the press conference on Tuesday where he announced that Cohen was brain dead, Tamir thanked the people of Israel "for all their help and support." While in hospital, soccer players, friends, family and fans flocked to visit Cohen and show their support.
The license of the driver who hit him has been suspended for 60 days. The driver told police he did not veer from his lane and that Cohen drove into the rear-view mirror of his vehicle.
Cohen began his career playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv before signing with Liverpool for a fee of $450,000 in 1979. With the signing, Cohen became the first Israeli to play soccer in England. He continued to play professional soccer until 1990, followed by managing several Israeli clubs. After retiring from active soccer and management, he was the chairman of the Israel Professional Footballers Association for over five years until his death this week.
The casket containing Cohen's body has been on display at Ramat Gan Stadium since 11:30 am. and the funeral will be held at 2 pm at the Ramat Hasharon cemetery. Cohen was 54 years old.