Former Newcastle United and Chelsea footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of the building where he lived in Turkey, his agent has confirmed.
Atsu, who had been playing for Turkish side Hatayspor since September 2020, had been reported missing following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6.
False reports had emerged earlier that week, suggesting that Atsu had been hospitalised, but it has now been confirmed that he lost his life in the disaster.
In a statement, Atsu’s agent Nana Sechere said, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well-wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning. My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support. I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”
Atsu had played for a number of Premier League clubs during his career, including Chelsea, Bournemouth, Everton, and Newcastle United.
Hatayspor, his current club, paid tribute to him on Twitter, calling him “a beautiful person” and saying that “there are no words to describe our sadness”. Atsu’s body is currently being sent to his hometown of Ghana for his funeral.
Atsu had scored a last-minute winner for Hatayspor in their home game against Turkish Super Lig rivals Kasimpasa on February 5, just hours before the earthquake struck.
He was living in the building with Hatayspor’s sporting director Taner Savut, who is also missing and has yet to be found.