Internacional hero Fernandao dies in helicopter crash

SAO PAULO Sat Jun 7, 2014 10:33am EDT

SC Internacional's Fernandao of Brazil signs an autograph for fans on his arrival for the FIFA Club World Cup at Narita International Airport near Tokyo December 7, 2006. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

SC Internacional's Fernandao of Brazil signs an autograph for fans on his arrival for the FIFA Club World Cup at Narita International Airport near Tokyo December 7, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Kiyoshi Ota

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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Fernandao, the swashbuckling striker who led Internacional to Copa Libertadores and World Club Cup triumphs in 2006, has died in a helicopter crash in central Brazil, his former club said on Saturday. He was 36.

The helicopter crashed with five people on board and none survived, according to news reports.

"I am saddened by the death of #Fernandão, a hero to all Internacional fans and all lovers of football," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, herself an Inter fan, said on Twitter.

"On the field he was world champion, off the field he was an example of a man of character."

Fernando Lucio da Costa played 190 times for the Porto Alegre club and scored 77 goals. He also managed the side in 2012.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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