Shingi Matibiri, Sports Reporter
Mwepu was last month taken ill on a flight whilst on international duty with Zambia and then hospitalised in Mali.
Subsequent tests on his return to England revealed the condition, which Brighton say would put the player at “an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event, if he were to continue playing competitive football”.
A club statement explained: “These tests have concluded that his illness is due to a hereditary cardiac condition, which manifests later in life and was not previously evident on regular cardiac screening. Sadly this can be exacerbated by playing sport so Enock has been advised that the only option, for the sake of his own safety, is for him to stop playing football.”
Confirming his retirement, Mwepu said he had “lived his dream by reaching the Premier League”, adding “some dreams, however, come to an end.” He also vowed to remain involved in football in some capacity.
The former Red Bull Salzburg man signed for the Seagulls in the summer of 2021 and made 18 Premier League appearances last term. His final Brighton outing came in the 5-2 win over Leicester in early September, in which he registered an assist.
“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock,” said Brighton chairman Tony Bloom. “He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just thankful he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short at such a young age.
“As a club we will give him all the love, help and support we possibly can to make a full recovery, and then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”
New Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, who took over from Graham Potter following his move to Chelsea last month and had not yet had the chance to work with Mwepu, added: “I am so sorry for Enock. Before I arrived I looked at all the squad, and he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with.
“We will do everything we can to help him.”