Football ace Christian Atsu has been found dead 12 days after the Turkey earthquake, his manager confirmed today.
The 31-year-old ex-Newcastle and Chelsea player had been scheduled to fly out of the country hours before the devastating 7.8-magnitude quake on February 6, The Sun reported.
Watch the world’s best footballers every week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE coverage from Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
But the Ghana star reportedly chose to stay with teammates after scoring the game-winning goal in a Super Lig match the day before.
After 12 days of desperately searching for Atsu, his manager said his body was tragically discovered buried in the rubble on Saturday.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” Murat Uzunmehmet said.
“Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”
Rescue workers found Atsu’s body where he was staying at Ronesans Residence – a 12-storey block of luxury flats that toppled over in Antakya city in Hatay.
His 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.”
Hatayspor, who Atsu signed with in September, said his body was being repatriated to Ghana.
“We will never forget you, Atsu,” the club said.
“Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.”
Former Chelsea captain John Terry tweeted a picture of Atsu alongside the message: “RIP my friend.”
There were initial reports the midfielder had been rescued a day after the quake, but these turned out to be false.
Earlier footage showed rescuers with search lights sifting through the wreckage of Atsu’s apartment block on the first night of the natural disaster.
His voice was then heard in the rubble, along with that of Hatayspor’s Sporting Director Taner Savut, local reports said.
Atsu, who has three kids with wife Marie-Claire, spent four seasons at Chelsea before a permanent transfer to Newcastle in 2017.
He signed in September for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor.
Several members of his new team had to be rescued from their homes after the earthquake struck at 4am local time.
The massive 7.8 magnitude quake stuck early on February 6.
Two further earthquakes struck in the 24 hours after the initial tremor, leaving a trail of destruction.
More than 43,000 people are now believed to have died in Turkey and Syria.
And freezing conditions and difficulty getting aid to remote areas is fuelling a further humanitarian disaster.
This story first appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.
Leave a Reply