Almost two weeks after the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, the body of Ghana soccer star Christian Atsu was found under rubble on Saturday, according to his agent.
It is with heaviest of hearts that I have to inform all well wishers that Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning,” Atsu’s agent Nana Sechere tweeted. “My deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”
Turkey’s state news channel TRT Haber reported on Saturday that a Hatayspor player’s body was discovered under the rubble of a destroyed building in Antakya.
According to a statement on Twitter published by Hatayaspor, his body would be sent to Ghana. “Peace be upon you, beautiful person. We do not have the words to express our sadness.” Atsu was missing after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing at least 45,513 people, including 39,672 in Turkey, according to Suleyman Soylu, Turkish Interior Minister.
At first, reports from Turkey said Atsu was located and in a hospital, but on February 8, Sechere tweeted that it had come to light, contrary to reports, that Atsu had not been found.
In the past, Atsu played for Al Raed FC in the Saudi Pro League. He also represented Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth, and Newcastle FC in the English Premier League. Newcastle United, where Atsu played from 2016 to 2021, making 121 appearances and helping the club gain promotion to the English Premier League, tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Christian Atsu in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes.”
“A gifted player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff, and supporters. Everton said on Twitter that it was “deeply saddened,” while Chelsea said in a statement that the club “sends our sincere condolences to Christian’s family and friends.”
While the Black Stars lost the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final to the Ivory Coast on penalties, Atsu won the tournament by being named player of the tournament. He played 65 times for his country. Ghana’s Football Association sent its “deepest condolences” to Atsu’s family in his death.