FORMER Athletic Bilbao starlet Aitor Gandiaga has died aged 23.
Gandiaga, who played for Spanish third division side Gernika Club, died on Sunday evening after his car collided with a bus.
The winger, who had been driving through heavy rain in Spain's northern Basque country, passed away at the scene of the accident.
A female passenger in Gandiaga's car and the bus driver were taken to hospital for treatment.
Gandiaga came through Bilbao's Lezama academy and played for their partner club Basconia.
The club said: "Huge sorrow for a young lad who left his mark at Lezama. Big hugs to his family, friends and teammates."
Gandiaga's former team-mate and current Bilbao star Ibai Gomez also sent his condolences to the youngster's family.
He tweeted: "I couldn't believe what has happened. My deepest condolences to family, friends, Athletic and Gernika."
A Gernika spokesman said: "We will never forget you, Gandi. Rest in peace.
"We join your entire family in our feelings of grief."
Gernika Club's home town, Guernica, was notoriously destroyed by German bombers in 1937.
The outrage inspired Pablo Picasso's famous painting Guernica, which shows the effects of the attack.
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