Albirex Niigata defender Fumiya Hayakawa has been diagnosed with acute leukemia, the club announced on Monday.
The 22-year-old rookie was first examined in late April after noticing visible swelling in his lymph nodes and is already receiving treatment at a Niigata hospital.
“I’ve dreamed of being cheered on by supporters since I was a little kid, and you’ve always given me strength and confidence,” Hayakawa said in a statement.
“So I’m fighting against this illness in order to stand proudly in front of you again.
“The road ahead will be difficult, but I hope that through my recovery I can inspire others who are also fighting with leukemia and other diseases.
“I’m going to work hard to return to Albirex Niigata, the club I love!”