Atsu found dead under rubble in earthquake

Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the building where he lived in southern Turkey after last week’s earthquakes in the region, the ex-Chelsea winger’s agent said on Saturday.

“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” Murat Uzunmehmet told reporters in Hatay, where Atsu’s body was found. “Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”

Last week, Hatayspor manager Volkan Demirel said the search for Atsu was still ongoing following conflicting reports of his whereabouts, after the club and the Ghana Football Association said he had been rescued and taken to hospital.

Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday the Ghanaian opted to stay with the club after scoring the game-winning goal in a Feb. 5 Super Lig match.

“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 other agent Nana Sechere wrote on Twitter, “I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”

Meanwhile Hatayspor later said: “The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the rubble (debris), 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 Atsu.”

Atsu had joined the Turkish Super Lig club in September 2022 after spending one season at Saudi club Al-Raed. The winger had previous spells with Premier League sides Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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