In a short statement released on Thursday afternoon, the Major League Soccer (MLS) club announced that Walkes had tragically passed away aged just 25 following an accident in south Florida.
The Miami Herald reported that he had been involved in a boating crash near Miami Marine Stadium, with Charlotte in the region for a pre-season training camp.
Walkes was a graduate of Tottenham’s academy and also played for Portsmouth before heading to the United States, where he represented Atlanta United in MLS before being selected by Charlotte in the 2021 Expansion Draft.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player, Anton Walkes,” Tottenham wrote on social media. “The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”
“Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” said Charlotte owner David Tepper.
“Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time. The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
Portsmouth, for whom Walkes made 66 appearances during a three-year stint that saw an initial loan move from Spurs made permanent in the summer of 2018, said: “Everyone at Portsmouth Football Club is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Anton Walkes. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time.”
Lewisham’s Walkes joined Tottenham as a teenager and rose through the academy ranks, playing regularly at youth level and making his only senior appearance for the club as a late replacement for Ben Davies in the 5-0 League Cup win over Gillingham at White Hart Lane in September 2016.
He spent time on loan at Atlanta in 2017 before heading to Portsmouth and then went back to the American club three seasons later in January 2020, making 79 appearances in total.
Walkes appeared 24 times for Charlotte after being picked in the Expansion Draft and being signed to a permanent two-year contract that included the option for another season ahead of their inaugural season in MLS’ Eastern Conference.
He last played in October during a 2-0 defeat by the New York Red Bulls. Charlotte are due to play a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly against St. Louis City on Friday before further warm-ups against LA Galaxy, DC United and Vancouver Whitecaps, with the 2023 MLS campaign beginning at home to New England Revolution on February 26.
“We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being,” said Charlotte sporting director Zoran Krneta. “Anton embodied what it means to be a part of Charlotte Football Club and our entire community is grieving over this tragedy.
“The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten. We are thinking of his lovely family during this time and will support them fully in every way imaginable.”
A statement from MLS read: “There are no words to describe the sorrow of everyone in Major League Soccer today after learning of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes of Charlotte FC. Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his partner, family, friends and the entire Charlotte FC family. MLS is coordinating with Charlotte FC to provide players and family members with the resources and support they may need during this tragic time.”