FORMER Barcelona academy ace Carter Payne has tragically been killed in a hit-and-run incident aged just 21.
The youngster's death has been confirmed by club Tormenta FC after he was struck while riding a lime scooter over the weekend.
Defender Payne, who was previously on the books at the Barcelona Residency Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona, sadly succumbed to his injuries at the Memorial Medical Center in Savannah.
The driver of the vehicle fled the scene, with Georgian police now investigating the matter.
Announcing the devastating news on Sunday, a Tormenta statement read: "South Georgia Tormenta FC are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Tormenta FC 2 defender Carter David Payne.
"A member of Tormenta FC 2’s 2022 USL League Two team, Payne was a tremendous athlete, team-mate and friend, and he will be sorely missed by everyone involved at the club.
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"Carter was hospitalised at Memorial Health: Southeast Georgia Hospital after being involved in a vehicle, pedestrian accident in Statesboro, Georgia.
"Carter’s family, friends and the entirety of Tormenta Nation are grieving today."
Barcelona Residency Academy Arizona also offered their condolences, as they tweeted: "We are devastated by the tragic loss of one of our own, Barca alum, Carter Payne.
"Carter was an extraordinary brother, team-mate, and student-athlete who will be sorely missed.
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"We send our love and support to Carter’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time."
The University of Michigan's men's soccer team were also quick to pay tribute to their former student.
They said: "We are devastated to confirm the tragic loss of Carter Payne. We grieve the loss of our brother, teammate and extraordinary student-athlete.
"We extend our hearts and love to his family at this extremely tragic time."
Following Payne's death, Tormenta announced that the club and the Ibis Foundation have created The Carter Payne Fund.
A statement read: "The Ibis Foundation will accept donations in memory of Carter, which will go to the family and to funding a new Carter Payne Scholarship, in which one TFC Academy player’s team and uniform fees will be covered each year, starting with the TFC Academy’s 2023 season.
"South Georgia Tormenta FC and The Ibis Foundation work together to promote the sport of soccer throughout South Georgia and the Low Country by providing resources and training opportunities to local youth at a significantly lower cost."
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