Frank Vandenbroucke, 34, was found dead on Monday a hotel in Senegal while on vacation. The cause of death is reported as a pulmonary edema (blood clot).
Vandenbroucke (VDB) had a lively record as both a champion and cheat. He celebrated more than 50 professional wins, with two phenomenal seasons in ’98 and ’99 during which he won theGent-Wevelgem one-day classic, Paris-Nice and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
From there, though, things spiraled downward with two drunk driving convictions (2002), being caught with doping materials (2002) and a suicide attempt in 2004. In his autobiography, he admitted to using performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
Most recently, he seemed to most to be happy and on the rebound. He trained with Team Cinelli for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race in February this year, and was reportedly looking for a team for 2010. According to Belgian media, VDB’s mother said she has spoken to her son on Sunday and he seemed in good spirits and was enjoying his vacation.
Our condolences go out to his family and friends.