Former Bayer Leverkusen, Union Berlin coach Sascha Lewandowski dies at 44

Former Bundesliga coach Sascha Lewandowski has died at the age of 44, police have confirmed.

Bochum police confirmed on Thursday that the former Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin coach was found dead in his Bochum home on Wednesday afternoon.

"We are devastated and incredibly sad," Union Berlin president Dirk Zingler said on the club's official website. "Our deepest sympathy belongs to the family and relatives of Sascha Lewandowski."

"It's difficult to imagine for us all that Sascha is dead. He was great person, who put all his power and passion into his work," Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller said.

The club's CEO Michael Schade added: "We are all deeply shocked and affected. Sascha was a wonderful person, and he has left his marks at Leverkusen. His name is strongly tied to our sporting success in recent years. It's devastating he's no longer with us."

Lewandowski, one of Germany's biggest coaching talents, worked for Bayer Leverkusen's youth academy from 2007, and coached the Bundesliga side from May 2012 through to June 2013, and for a short stint toward the end of the 2013-14 season after the sacking of Sami Hyypia.

In September 2015, Lewandowski took charge of the 2. Bundesliga club Union Berlin, but early this year was diagnosed with the burnout syndrome which also caused functional cardiac irregularities. In March, he stepped down as the club's coach.

"I hoped that a short break would be enough to significantly reduce the afflictions. But sadly that just wasn't the case," Lewandowski said at that time, adding that it will take months "until I am my old self again."