Another former tennis player has died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known in North America as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
France’s Jérôme Golmard passed away Monday night. He was just 43.
Less than two weeks ago, 56-year-old Aussie Peter Doohan died of the same disease. In 2013, former ATP chief Brad Drewett also died of ALS.
In Australia, it’s called MND, or motor-neuron disease.
In France, it’s called la maladie de Charcot.
French pathologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, one of the fathers of modern neurology, was the first to describe the symptoms of the disease back in 1874.
Golmard reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 22 back in 1999.
Win over Agassi
The Frenchman won two career singles titles, and posted a victory over Andre Agassi 17 years ago this month, in the first round of the Rogers Cup.
Agassi was the top seed. His one career meeting with Pete Sampras ended up 6-4 in the third, in Sampras’s favour, at the Paris Masters in 1998.
Golmard even played Roger Federer, back in 1999 in Marseille. Federer, then 17, won 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
He survived much longer than Doohan, who announced only in May that he was stricken with the disease, and died less than two months later.
Golmard announced his diagnosis all the way back in January 2014, and said the doctors told him he had between one and three years left to live.
He set up a foundation, the Association Jérôme Golmard, to make better-known a disease he had never heard of – until he contracted it.
As he described it on his website, his case degenerated quickly. A month after the diagnosis, Golmar had already lose the use of his legs and had to use a wheelchair. And he had lost more than 20 pounds.
But he survived another three years.
The French Federation, along with the ATP, supported him with some financial help as well as he sought the best treatment available.
He worked with a controversial doctor in Germany, and an American physician on an experimental treatment.
TENNIS – Golmard : Un cas qui pose question by lequipe
But at this stage, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the effects of the devastating disease.