HANOVER - Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who committed suicide by jumping in front of an express train, had long suffered from depression and fears of failure, his wife and his doctor said on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Enke was hit by a train travelling at 160 kph as it passed through a crossing near Hanover on its route between Hamburg and Bremen on Tuesday.
Enke is survived by his wife Teresa and an adopted eight-month-old daughter.
The German soccer federation (DFB) said Saturday's friendly with Chile had been scrapped because the players were in shock. All the players and coaches are due to attend a memorial service in Hanover in the coming days.
Enke's wife said the couple had tried to overcome years of depression through therapy.
"When he was acutely depressive it was a very difficult time because he lacked motivation and any hope of improvement," she told reporters at a news conference.
Enke, who apologised in a suicide letter for hiding the condition leading up to his death, tried hard to keep his depression secret.
His wife, dressed in black and struggling to hold back tears, said: "It is crazy because now it is coming out anyway. We thought we could do everything and we could do it with love but you can't always do it."
The German football federation cancelled the Chile game saying it was necessary for the players and coaches to mourn.
"It was clear to everyone that we could not play," said DFB chief Theo Zwanziger. "We need time to process all this," he told reporters after a minute's silence before the news conference.
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff broke down in tears after adding that Enke's depression had gone unnoticed by team mates and officials.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel contacted Enke's family.
"The Chancellor communicated her shock and compassion to the widow of Robert Enke in a very personal letter," government spokesman Christoph Steegmans told reporters.
Enke won eight international caps and was in the running to play at the World Cup in South Africa next year.
His doctor had treated Enke since 2003, during a turbulent time when the keeper had several unsuccessful transfers to clubs in Spain and Turkey. "He suffered from depression and fear of failure," Valentin Markser told reporters.
Markser said the player refused to be treated on the day of his suicide, saying he was feeling well.
After years of battling injuries and personal issues, including the death of his two-year-old daughter due to a heart ailment in 2006, Enke finally appeared poised to grab the number one spot in the national team.
He lived in the shadow of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann for almost a decade and it was only after the latter's international retirement last year that Enke emerged as a leading contender for the position, despite earning his first call-up in 1999.
He won his first cap in 2007.
After playing for Borussia Moenchengladbach, Enke had several stints abroad at Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbahce and Tenerife before returning to the Bundesliga in 2004.
Barcelona held a minute's silence before dedicating their King's Cup victory over Cultural Leonesa to Enke on Tuesday, while Tenerife said their players would wear black armbands in their La Liga match at the weekend.
Thousands of fans gathered outside the Hanover stadium and offices on Wednesday, leaving flowers and lighting candles in Enke's memory.
The German soccer league (DFL) said a minute's silence would be held on the next matchday, with all players wearing black armbands.
Enke's death triggered an outpouring of grief, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter saying his "thoughts are with the family and we hope they will find the strength to deal with the pain."