Former Indian hockey player Sandeep Michael, 33, who captained the Indian junior team to an Asia Cup gold in 2003, passed away on Friday in Bengaluru after battling an unspecified neurological problem, PTI reported.

“Sandeep passed away this afternoon in a private hospital. He was battling a brain problem and was admitted on November 18. He slipped into a coma and could not be revived,” said Karnataka State Hockey Association Secretary K Krishna Murthy.

Michael, in the 2003 junior Asia Cup, was adjudged the most promising player. He scored in crunch games against teams like Pakistan and Korea. “He had a knack of scoring goals from any position and angle. This skill endeared him to the coaches and he was also loved by fans,” Murthy said.

His father John Michael was a state-level volleyball player and his mother Alamelu was a track-and-field athlete and also was a state-level kho-kho player, he added.

Michael’s younger brother, Vineet, too played hockey and represented Karnataka in the Sub-Junior Nationals in 2002. Michael found fame at the senior level in a tournament in Australia in 2003.

“In this tournament he scored two goals after he came in as a substitute for Dhanraj Pillay. Pillay was rested by coach Rajinder Singh to give Sandeep international exposure,” he said.

In 2001, he made his debut for India as a junior in the Under-18 Asia Cup at Ipoh in Malaysia under Jugraj Singh.