A plane carrying Brazilian football club Chapecoense and an accompanying delegation of trainers and journalists crashed in Colombia on Tuesday on its way to Medellin.
A first division football club in Brazil, the Chapecoense team was travelling to Colombia to take on Atletico Nacional in the two-legged final – a match that will no longer be taking place.
The club has been a success story in recent years, both on and off the pitch.
Based in the city of Chapeco, the Chapecoense organisation has been lauded as a model of financial restraint and common sense.
This season was the first time the club has qualified to play in the Copa Sudamericana – the continent’s second tier club competition.
Formed in the 1970s, the team is not one of the more established names in the Brazlian game, and was only promoted to the country’s top division in 2014.
On their way to the final in Medellin, Chapecoense beat major teams including San Lorenzo and Independiente from Argentina.
Shortly after news broke of the plane crash, the Chapecoense team put out a statement on club’s Facebook page that read: “May god accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”
The team said it would refrain from any further statements until it had fully evaluated the extent of the crash.
The South American football federation, CONMEBOL, has cancelled all activities until further notice.
The federation said in a statement on Tuesday that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, is on his way to Medellin.
The first of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final was scheduled to be played Wednesday in Medellin between Chapecoense and Atletico Nacional.
With reporting from Al Jazeera’s Andy Richardson.