Rajiv Mishra, a member of the Indian team that won a silver medal at the 1997 Junior Hockey Men’s World Cup, passed away earlier this week at his home in Varanasi, according to reports.

Mishra, aged 46, was working in Varanasi as a Northern Railways chief inspector of ticket while his family lived in Lucknow. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Born in Kolkata, Mishra played domestic hockey for the Northern Railways, which is where he first made a mark and was selected for the junior national team.

The flamboyant player was adjudged the best player of the tournament at the 1997 Junior World Cup in Milton Keynes, England, scoring nine goals.

His career however, was cut short due to a knee injury he suffered during a practice match, which was reportedly followed up by unsuccessful surgeries.

After the news was made public, tributes poured in from former teammates and Hockey India as well.

Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, Mishra’s teammate at the 1997 Junior World Cup, wrote in a tweet: “I am deeply saddened to hear about the untimely demise of Rajeev Mishra, a talented former Junior International Hockey player. His passion and dedication to the sport were truly inspiring. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the entire hockey community.”

“Like his career, Rajeev’s life also ended untimely,” said Prem Shankar Shukla, his first coach and mentor told Times of India. “It is heartrending to know about his death, but I would like to remember him as hockey’s rock star who was accorded a rousing welcome at the Delhi airport when India, the runners-up of the 1997 Junior World Cup, returned home.”