The widow of Germany's national goaltender, Robert Enke, choked back tears as she described how he lived a life of fear before throwing himself in front of the train that killed him, The London Times reported.
The suicide has stunned Germany and triggered a debate about the concealment of mental illness in high-profile competitive sports. A friendly game against Chile on Saturday was cancelled as a mark of respect.
The 32-year-old goalie had been fighting for years against clinical depression but had been determined to keep it secret in fear it would mean the end of his soccer career, said his widow Teresa, according to the paper.
Mostly he was afraid that the publicity would lead to the authorities cancelling the couple's adoption of a newborn baby last May.
"When he was acutely (depressed), it was difficult," said his 30-year-old widow.
"Difficult above all because he didn't want anything to get out. That's the way he wanted it, because he was terrified of losing his sport."