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18th Feb 2023

Ex-Premier League star Christian Atsu found dead after Turkey earthquake

Steve Hopkins

‘A talented player and a special person’

Footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of his home almost two weeks after Turkey was hit with a devastating earthquake. He was 31.

The Ghana international, who played for Premier League sides Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle, had been missing since the 6 February quake that caused the collapse of his apartment in the city of Hatay.

As of Saturday, the death toll from the Turkey-Syria earthquakes passed 45,000. The total number of people killed in Turkey hit 39,672 and the Syrian government, and UN, said more than 5,800 people have died there, Aljazeera reported.

Atsu, who has three kids with wife Marie-Claire, had been scheduled to fly out of Turkey hours before the quake.

The footballer’s club, Hatayspor, initially reported he was rescued “with injuries” but a day later that position changed.

“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,” his agent Nana Sechere tweeted on Saturday.

“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.”

Atsu joined the Turkish top-flight side Hatayspor in September 2022 and scored the winning goal in a Super Lig match on 5 February.

The Sun quoted Atsu’s manager, Murat Uzunmehmet, as saying the footballer’s “lifeless body was found under the rubble” and that “more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”

The publication said 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.

Hataspor wrote on Twitter: “The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the collapse, is on his way to be sent to his hometown Ghana. We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness. Rest in peace.”

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