Germany keeper Enke dies in apparent suicide(Reuters)
BERLIN, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Germany and Hanover 96 goalkeeper Robert Enke has died after being hit by a train in an apparent suicide, local police said on Tuesday.
"First indications point to suicide," a media officer for the Lower Saxony police told Reuters before adding that Enke's body was found at a train crossing in Neustadt am Ruebenberge some 25-km northeast of Hanover.
The national soccer federation (DFB) said in a statement: "The German team has learned of the death of Robert Enke with great shock. National team coach Joachim Loew and manager Oliver Bierhoff said 'we are all shocked, we are speechless'."
DFB president Theo Zwanziger said the federation was in mourning. "Our feelings go out to his wife and family," he said.
Softly-spoken and reserved, the 32-year-old keeper won eight international caps and was in the running to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year.
Enke, who had spells with clubs in Spain, Turkey and Portugal before signing for Bundesliga team Hanover in 2004, experienced a difficult time in recent months as he battled to secure his place in Germany's team.
He missed the last three World Cup qualifiers with what turned out to be an energy-sapping stomach virus and had just returned to action after almost two months out.
"This is a tragedy," Hanover president Martin Kind told reporters.
Despite not being called up for two friendlies against Chile and Ivory Coast this month, even after Bayer Leverkusen's Rene Adler pulled out with an eye infection, Loew had hinted Enke was still front-runner for the starting spot.
Enke, born in Jena in the former East Germany, also played club football for Borussia Moenchengladbach and Benfica and had a brief spell at Barcelona before stints with Fenerbahce and Tenerife.
His two-year-old daughter died of a heart ailment in 2006. The couple adopted a two-month-old girl in May.
"Germany loses an exceptional athlete and a sensitive man who was a role model for many," said Lower Saxony governor Christian Wulff.
It is not yet clear whether Germany's friendly against Chile on Saturday will still go ahead.