: Malaysia lost another legendary football player when former national midfielder Wong Choong Wah passed away due to a heart attack, Friday morning.
The death of Wong at age 67 is all the more saddening as Friday is the first day of the Chinese New Year.
His contemporary Datuk Soh Chin Aun, also a household name in local and regional football, said he found out about Wong's death from Wong's wife.
He said Wong's wife said he suffered a heart attack at home in Sri Petaling here and was rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital at 3 am.
"I'm very shocked, because Wong still used to send SMS greetings to me and other friends during Chinese New Year. However, this time I was a bit surprised to receive the greeting from him early Thursday," he said when contacted by Bernama, Friday.
Soh said he was informed that for now only Wong's closest family members are allowed to pay their last respects to Wong whose body has been temporarily placed at the Kwang Tong funeral complex in Sungai Besi here.
He is expected to be laid to rest on next Monday.
Wong was one of the earliest Malaysian football players to turn professional.
He started his professional career with South China Club in Hong Kong where he played from 1972 to 1974.
He was also a member of the national football squad that competed in the Munich Olympics in Germany in 1972.
Wong was also a main pillar of the Selangor team who were difficult to beat in the local leagues in the 70s and 80s.
In his heyday, he was a midfield maestro who was highly regarded by players, coaches and officials alike.
Other illustrious local players who have passed on include goalkeepr Datuk R. Arumugam aka Spiderman (died in 1988), striker Datuk Mokhtar Dahari (1991) and "Raja Bola" Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Minhat (2012).