Retired New England Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton’s family has experienced an unimaginable tragedy.

The former professional soccer player’s daughter Olivia Knighton has passed away following a boating accident in South Carolina. She was only 11 years old. According to a statement from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on Twitter Friday, a 23-foot boat was carrying a dozen people aboard while traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River. But the fun day out on the water suddenly took a horrific turn when the vessel “was rocked by a large wake caused by another boat.”

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The wake resulted in nine of the 12 passengers going overboard, including an 11-year-old girl who was later identified as Olivia. When the child fell into the water, she was hit by the boat’s propeller. Nobody else was harmed in the incident. Olivia was taken to McLeod Seacoast Hospital but sadly succumbed to her injuries. Just heartbreaking. She was so young. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources noted in their statement that they are investigating the tragedy at this time:

“We are in the process of a detailed inquiry that includes collecting witness statements, examining the boat and working to develop a complete picture of what happened.”

Following the accident, Brad took to Instagram to mourn the loss of his daughter. He wrote in a message to fans:

“There are no words to express the depth of our profound grief and sorry in this moment. Our family is still in shock at the sudden and tragic loss of our beautiful and brilliant daughter, Olivia, to an unfortunate boating accident yesterday. We are all still in disbelief that her bright and pure light was taken away from us so suddenly. Somehow, we will get through this together as a family.”

He continued:

“Olivia loved soccer and the Revolution with all of her heart. Our family always felt your support behind us during my career. We will need you and your prayers with us now more than ever. We love you, Olivia.”

The tribute was signed by Brad, his wife Britney Knighton, and their two sons, 9-year-old Owen Knighton and 5-year-old Brooks Knighton. You can read the entire post (below):

His former team also issued a statement to offer their condolences to the Knighton family, writing on Instagram:

“The entire New England Revolution community is devastated to learn of the Knighton family’s tragic loss. Olivia was a bright and shining light who was a beloved presence around the Revolution throughout her entire life, always bringing a warm smile and laugh to Gillette Stadium and our training facility when she would visit. Her sudden loss leaves a profound hole in our hearts. The club sends its deepest condolences to Britney, Brad, Owen, and Brooks, and we will be there to support the Knighton family in every way possible.”

They also paid tribute to Olivia during a game on Saturday night. See (below):

Our hearts break for this family. We’re keeping them in our thoughts as they mourn the loss of Olivia.

[Image via Brad Knighton/Instagram, New England Revolution/YouTube]

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