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MONTREAL — Jason Di Tullio, an assistant coach and former player with CF Montreal, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 38.
His death Thursday night was confirmed by the MLS club.
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of our colleague, teammate, and friend, who left us far too soon. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” Montreal president and CEO Gabriel Gervais said in a statement. “Jason was a great player and a great man.
"His energy was ever-present until his final moments. He himself symbolically compared his battle to a soccer game. Jason was extremely brave and fought until the end. He will forever be remembered in our minds and the memory of the club as an iconic player and mentor.”
The club said it will pay tribute to Di Tullio at Saturday's match against visiting New York City FC.
Di Tullio was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer last year, an aggressive form of cancer with an extremely low survival rate and no known cure. He underwent surgeries and radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
"Sad news this morning," Montreal midfielder Samuel Piette said in a social media post. "A courageous, positive and passionate man. Thanks for everything coach! Condolences to his family."
A former Canadian youth international, Di Tullio represented Canada at the 2001 Francophone Games in Ottawa/Hull and at the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
He served as an assistant coach with the Canadian under-17, under-20 and under-23 teams, most recently working with head coach Mauro Biello in men's Olympic qualifying in March 2021.
Di Tullio was 18 when he started his pro career with the Montreal Impact in 2002 when the team competed in the United Soccer League. In 81 games, including 60 as starter, he played 5,611 minutes of play, scoring one goal and adding four assists.
He retired as a player in 2007.
Di Tullio was as an assistant coach with the club's first team from 2015 to 2017, returning to that role in 2021. He had previously served as head coach of Montreal's under-16, under-17 and under-23 teams.
The former defender also spent one year as technical director of the Association regionale de soccer de Lanaudiere.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 29, 2022.
The Canadian Press