A football fan has reportedly died from sleep deprivation after spending days awake watching the World Cup in a marathon TV session.

The 25-year-old Chinese man, from east China city Suzhou, had stayed up "for days" to watch the opening matches of this year's tournament, but is thought to have died from excessive lack of sleep hours after watching the Netherlands beat Spain 5-1.

He was taken to the People's Hospital of Xiangcheng, where doctors ruled that the death was related to an excessive lack of sleep , but could not specify whether the cause was physical exhaustion or possible heart attack, reported Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo.

Chinese doctors had warned football fans in the country about sacrificing sleep during the tournament, which is being held in Brazil and has an 11-hour time difference from China.

Matches kick off between midnight and 6am Chinese local time and means fans must stay up all night if they want to watch the world's top footballers compete.

It is not the first time tragedy has struck China during a football tournament. During Euro 2012 one fan subjected himself to 11 sleepless nights to watch every game of the championship.

Jiang Xiaoshan died from exhaustion after reportedly staying up every night to watch the Euros with his friends.

Chinese hospitals also saw a spike in patients being admitted with symptoms of exhaustion during the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, which were held in Germany and South Africa respectively with matches broadcast in the middle of the night in China .