The body of former Newcastle United footballer Christian Atsu has been found under the rubble of the building where he lived in Turkey, his agent has said.
The Ghanaian player had been misidentified and falsely reported as hospitalised last week following the earthquake, killing more than 45,000 people.
Atsu’s agent, Nana Sechere, tweeted:
“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.”
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
— Nana Sechere (@iAmNana7) February 18, 2023
Atsu spent eight years signed to Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Bournemouth, Everton and Newcastle.
Chelsea signed him in 2013 before being sent on loan to Dutch club Vitesse.
The winger also played for Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle during loan spells from Stamford Bridge. Atsu ended his Premier League career having made 121 appearances.
Former Chelsea club captain John Terry tweeted: “RIP my friend.”
Atsu moved to Turkey last September, signing for Antakya side Hatayspor on a one-year contract.
Atsu’s Turkey-based agent, Murat Uzunmehmet, told reporters that the player was found beneath the rubble of his home in southern Turkey.
He said: “Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”
Atsu also enjoyed a decorated career at international level, making 65 appearances for Ghana and scoring nine times.
He represented the West African nation at the 2014 World Cup and was named player of the tournament at the 2015 African Cup of Nations, in which Ghana were finalists.
Atsu first moved to Portugal aged 17 to pursue football, signing for Porto the same year.
He is survived by wife Marie-Claire Rupio Atsu and their three children.
Istanbul team Galatasaray tweeted its condolences to Atsu’s family.
The club wrote: “We are sad to learn that Atakas Hatayspor football player Christian Atsu lost his life in the earthquake that stifled our country.
“Our condolences to Christian Atsu’s family, fans and Hatayspor community.“