Ghana international Christian Atsu was found dead ten days after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6. The 31-year was initially thought to be safe following false reports that he had been rescued and was on his way to the hospital. However, Atsu’s current club Hatayspor later said the reports were heartbreakingly mistaken and the player was still missing.
Atsu was later confirmed dead after his “lifeless” body was recovered under the ruins of a luxury 12-story building where he had been living in the city of Antakya. His agent Nana Sechere shared the tragic news with a post on Twitter
“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,” Nana Sechere tweeted. “My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones.”
Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo posted a photo of Atsu on his official Twitter account and wrote: “Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He’ll be sorely missed.”
His body will be sent to Ghana, according to a statement by his club Hatayaspor. “Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness,” the club tweeted.
Atsu made his professional debut for Ghana in 2012 at the age of 20. He went on to play more than 60 games for the Black Stars with his last appearance for his country coming in 2019.
The Ghanaian played for several top clubs throughout his career including Porto, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle. Chelsea football club paid tribute to Atsu, who they signed in 2013 with a heartfelt message to his family and friends.
“Chelsea sends our heartfelt condolences to Christian’s family and friends and to all those affected by the earthquake tragedy.”
Newcastle United, for whom Atsu played from 2016 to 2021 also paid tribute to the winger before their 0-2 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday: “We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes.
A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.”
Atsu joined Hatayspor last year after a short spell playing with Al Raed FC in Saudi Arabia. Condolences to his family.
Information from CNN and Associated Press contributed to this report