Avi Cohen, Israel's best-known football player in the late 1970s and early 1980s and a league title winner with Liverpool FC, has died from head injuries suffered in a recent traffic accident.
Cohen, who was 54, was thrown from his motorcycle after a collision with a car in Tel Aviv on 20 December. Doctors had declared Cohen brain dead on Tuesday, and he passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Cohen's son, Tamir, had made an announcement on his father's condition on Tuesday. "To our great sadness, a health ministry committee was in the hospital today and confirmed that our father is indeed brain dead. Which is to say, he has died." Tamir, who plays for Bolton Wanderers FC in England, had flown to Israel to be at his father's side.
Cohen's 18-year playing career began in 1974 with Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC. He went on to make 64 appearances for Israel, 33 as captain. It was a period when Israeli clubs and players had very little contact with the top leagues in Europe and he became the first Israeli to play in England's top flight when in 1979 he joined Liverpool. He made 24 league appearances for the Anfield club, scoring in the match against Aston Villa FC that secured the 1979/80 league title.
After his two seasons at Liverpool, Cohen, a defender, returned to Israel and rejoined his boyhood club Maccabi Tel-Aviv. In 1988 he briefly played for Rangers FC. He was chairman of the Israeli Professional Footballer's Association for the past eight years and was a regular local radio and television pundit.