FORMER Hearts striker Stéphane Paille has died on his 52nd birthday after a battle with illness.
Paille, capped eight times by France, was signed for Hearts by Jim Jefferies in 1996 following spells at several clubs including Porto, Bordeaux and Lyon.
He played 22 times for the Tynecastle club, scoring three goals, and was man of the match in the Jambos’ League Cup semi-final win over Dundee at Easter Road.
Paille was released by the club in May 1997 after failing a drugs test due to his use of Dinintel. Two years earlier, he had received a ban in France for cannabis use.