Former French soccer star dies after 39 years in a coma

Jean-Pierre Adams, the former France and Paris Saint-Germain defender who spent 39 years in a coma, has died. He was 73. 

In a poignant tribute on Monday, PSG called him the club’s “glorious elder.”

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Jean-Pierre Adams, French footballer, pictured on July 26, 1977 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / AFP

“His joie de vivre, his charisma and his experience command respect. Paris Saint-Germain offers its condolences to his family and loved ones,” PSG said in a statement Monday.

Adams, cared for by his wife Bernadette, had been lying in a coma at his home in the southern French city of Nimes since 1982.

He was injured in a match and required knee surgery. During the operation at Lyon Hospital, an anaesthetic error saw him fall into a coma.

As a young boy, Adams left his home country of Senegal with a passion for soccer.

He was spotted by Nimes in 1970 and went on to score 10 goals in 98 matches for the club. 

“We learned this morning of the passing of Jean-Pierre Adams,” the team wrote on their Twitter page. “He had worn the colors of Nimes Olympique 84 times and with Marius Trésor made up ‘the black guard’ of the French team.”

He later played almost 150 games and scoring 17 goals for Nice.

Nice said the team will pay a tribute to Adams at their home match against Monaco on September 19.

Adams moved on to PSG in 1977 and played there for two seasons. He then ended his playing career in 1981 after brief spells with Mulhouse and Chalon.

He won his first cap for France in 1972 and went on to play 22 times for Les Bleus.

Even though Adams was relatively short for a central defender at 5 feet 10 inches, he formed an imposing partnership with Marius Tresor.

The last of Adams’ international appearances was away to Denmark in 1976.