Two weeks ago, a devastating earthquake hit parts of Türkiye.
Former Chelsea footballer Christian Atsu was missing amidst the chaos and confusion.
The Ghanian’s body was finally recovered on the morning of 18 February.
He was only 31 years old.
Christian Atsu Found Dead at 31
On Saturday, Atsu’s agent Nana Sechere posted a tweet announcing the unfortunate news.
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
He wrote, “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.”
According to Reuters, Atsu’s Turkish agent, Murat Uzunmehmet, confirmed the news.
Uzunmehmet told reporters that Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble.
Search and rescue workers had found his body in the rubble of what used to be Ronesans Residence, a block of high-rise luxury flats in Hatay that toppled over during the earthquake.
He also mentioned that Atsu’s phone was found at the scene.
Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement, “The elder brother and twin sister of Christian Atsu and an officer of the (Ghanian) embassy were present at the site when the body was recovered.”
The embassy is working with the Turkish government to transport Atsu’s body back to Ghana for burial.
Atsu joined Chelsea from Porto in 2013 and spent four seasons there before a permanent transfer to Newcastle in 2017.
He also had several loan spells at clubs like Vitesse and Bournemouth.
Atsu joined Hatayspor in September 2022.
He previously won 65 caps for Ghana and even helped them to reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final.
He was also part of the Ghana squad at the 2013 World Cup.
He was last selected to play for Ghana back in 2019.
Hatayspor’s manager said that Atsu had been scheduled to fly out to southern Türkiye for a family visit just hours before the earthquake struck.
However, he opted to stay with Hatayspor after scoring the winning goal in the Super Lig match on 5 February.
Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez called Atsu a ‘special person.’
Benitez said to Sky Sports, “He was a nice lad and always had a smile. I’m really sad for him and everyone who knew him.”
Chelsea said, “It is with enormous sadness that Chelsea Football Club receives the news that Christian Atsu is confirmed as one of the many victims of the dreadful earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.”
Hatayspor tweeted, “We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.”
Atsu’s last Instagram post was on 6 February, the day of the earthquake.
View this post on Instagram
It depicted his winning goal in the Super Lig match.
Many fans have expressed condolences towards Atsu’s family, hoping he will rest in peace.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred on 6 February, affecting parts of Türkiye and Syria.
More than 45,000 people have been killed in both countries.
Considered one of the ten deadliest earthquakes in the past 100 years, the United Nations has appealed for US$1 billion to address a growing humanitarian crisis.
Many of those in the affected zones are in dire circumstances, trying to survive in freezing temperatures without food, water or toilets.
Disease is now a looming threat due to the lack of clean water.
Ahead of Newcastle United’s match against Liverpool tonight, a minute of silence will be observed in honour of Atsu’s memory.
— IGC NEWS INTERNATIONL (@NewsIgc) February 18, 2023
Atsu was born on 10 January 1992 and is survived by his wife and three children.
On Twitter, Sechere added, “We ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”
I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.
— Nana Sechere (@iAmNana7) February 18, 2023
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