Sporting Gijon and Barcelona great Enrique Castro 'Quini' dies, aged 68

Enrique Castro "Quini," the former Spain striker who played for Barcelona and thrived in a long career with Sporting Gijon, has died of a heart attack. He was 68.

Sporting said Quini collapsed while walking near his house in the northern city of Gijon.

Known as "The Wizard," Quini played in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups with Spain.

His career was also notable for a kidnapping incident during his first year with Barcelona, when he was abducted at gunpoint after a home game, spending 25 days in captivity before being rescued by police.

Quini also survived throat cancer that required surgery in 2008.

He played for Barcelona until 1984, making 178 appearances and winning five titles with the Catalan club.

Barcelona said Quini was "a synonym for goals" and "one of the best strikers in Europe in his time."

As news of his passing was confirmed, the likes of Leo Messi, Guti and Gerard Pique took to social media to pay their respects to the legendary striker.

Hasta siempre Quini

A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

Quini played with Sporting from 1968 until 1980, and again after leaving Barcelona to end his career with more than 400 appearances for the club.

The Spanish league said there will be a minute of silence to honor Quini in matches on Wednesday and Thursday.

Quini was the first division's leading scorer five times.