Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba has spoken of his devastation at being forced to retire from football due to the heart attack he suffered in March.
The npower Championship club announced on Wednesday that the 24-year-old - who had hoped to make a comeback - had made the decision to retire from the professional game after taking medical advice.
"While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for," said Muamba.
"I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."
Muamba collapsed while playing for Bolton against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in an FA Cup match on March 17.
He received lengthy attention on the pitch and it later emerged that his heart had stopped for 78 minutes.
Remarkably he made a stunning recovery and left hospital a month later.
Muamba told Bolton's official website: "Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again.
"As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist.
"But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.
"Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities.
"Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level.
"I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, and the Bolton fans who have been incredible.
"I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time."
Bolton chairman Phil Gartside said: "To have Fabrice here and with us is truly amazing and we are all very thankful for that.
"We are all hugely disappointed that Fabrice will be unable to return to his playing career but we have to be guided by the medical recommendations and the best interests of Fabrice.
"The most important thing is that Fabrice and his family have the rest of their lives ahead of them."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle said: "We have spoken with Fab and he knows we will always support him in whatever he wants to do and that we will always be here for him.
"He is obviously massively disappointed that he won't be able to carry on his career, but everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body.
"We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today."
Muamba and his family fled war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking asylum in the UK.
Despite arriving in London age 11, unable to speak English, he went on to achieve 10 GCSEs and three A levels and joined Arsenal's youth academy in 2002. He later joined Birmingham, before moving to Bolton in 2008.
Fabrice Muamba factfile:
1988: Born April 6 in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).
1999: Moves to England at the age of 11, reuniting with his father who had earlier sought political asylum in the country due to civil war in his homeland.
2002: Joins the youth team set-up at Arsenal - the club he supported as a boy in his homeland - before graduating to their Academy two years later.
2005: Signs professional terms at Arsenal and makes the first of two first-team appearances for the club - both in the League Cup - against Sunderland on October 25.
2006: August - Joins Birmingham on a season-long loan and goes on to make 36 appearances on his way to winning the club's young player of the year award.
2007: May 11 - Makes his move to Birmingham permanent after the club agrees a reported £4million fee with Arsenal.
2007: August 21 - After representing England at every age level from Under-16s, Muamba is handed his England Under-21 debut in a friendly against Romania.
2008: June - Scores two goals in 37 league appearances in the 2007/08 season but cannot prevent Birmingham's relegation.
August 7 - Signs for Bolton after the Trotters agree a fee in excess of £5million with Birmingham for the midfielder.
2010: August 10 - Signs a new four-year contract at Bolton, committing him to the club until 2014.
2011: June - Represents England Under-21s at the European Championships in Denmark.
August 13 - Scores his third league goal for Bolton in his side's season-opening 4-0 demolition of QPR.
2012: March 17 - Muamba collapses in the 41st minute of Bolton's FA Cup tie with Tottenham at White Hart Line. He receives emergency treatment on the pitch and the match is subsequently abandoned. Bolton later confirm that Muamba is "critically ill" in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital.
March 19 - A Barts and the London NHS Trust statement confirms Muamba is showing signs of improvement and his heart is beating without the aid of medication. Bolton later announce Muamba has been able to recognise family members and respond to questions.
March 30 - Further signs of Muamba's improvement come when he is pictured for the first time since collapsing. In a message posted on Twitter by his girlfriend Shauna, Muamba is shown sitting up in his hospital bed and smiling.
April 16 - Muamba is discharged from the London Chest Hospital.
May 2 - Returns to the Reebok Stadium for the first time since his cardiac arrest. Enters the field to a standing ovation as he is introduced ahead of Wanderers' Premier League game against Tottenham and is overcome with emotion as he acknowledges the applause from all sides of the ground.
August 15 - Announces his retirement from football on medical advice.