Christian Atsu death: former Newcastle United star found dead after devastating earthquake in Turkey

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Christian Atsu’s body has been found almost two weeks after the powerful earthquake in Turkey

Former Newcastle United and Porto star Christian Atsu has been found dead, his agent has confirmed.

The 31-year-old had been missing since the powerful earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria 12 days ago on 6 February. But his body was found on Saturday (18 February) morning.

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Initial reports in the wake of the disaster claimed that Atsu, who has been with Turkish side Hatayspor since last summer, had been rescued from the rubble of a building that collapsed in the disaster. But the 31-year-old Ghanaian’s agent Nana Sechere subsequently posted messages on Twitter on 8 and 9 February saying Atsu was yet to be found.

Footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of his home almost two weeks after the Turkey earthquake, his agent has confirmed.Footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of his home almost two weeks after the Turkey earthquake, his agent has confirmed.
Footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of his home almost two weeks after the Turkey earthquake, his agent has confirmed.

In an updated, his agent confirmed that Atsu had died in the earthquake. Nana Sechere tweeted: “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.

“I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”

The death toll from the quakes that hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria has passed 35,000.

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Tributes paid to Atsu

Ghana international Atsu, who was 31, had been playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor. He made 121 appearances for Newcastle and was part of the team which won promotion back to the Premier League in 2017.

Atsu also had loan spells at Everton and Bournemouth while contracted to Chelsea. Former Chelsea captain John Terry tweeted a picture of Atsu alongside the message: “RIP my friend.”

Newcastle United tweeted a tribute to Atsu, writing: “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. Rest in peace, Christian.”

What had been said previously?

Earlier this week, Atsu’s agent said: “It has been nine days since the earthquake and we still have not located Christian. I am at the quake site in Hatay with Christian’s family. The scenes are unimaginable and our hearts are broken for all the people affected.

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“During my time here we have been able to locate Christian Atsu’s exact room location, and we have found two pairs of his shoes. Yesterday we received confirmation that thermal imagery was showing signs of up to five lives, however, I am told that the only real confirmation of life is through sight, smell and sound, and unfortunately we were not able (to) locate Christian.

“This is a difficult situation and we are extremely grateful to all the Turkish and foreign rescue teams, local civilians and volunteers for their efforts and response in rescuing survivors. However, we urgently need more resources, including a translator, on the ground.

“Things are moving incredibly slow and as a result of that many rescues are being delayed, and lives are being lost due to the lack of resources available to the workers. It is unfortunate that the club is not on the ground with us, side by side, in the search for Christian.

“Their position and influence, accompanied with their local knowledge would be extremely helpful. We implore the president of the club and mayor of Hatay, Lutfu Savas to provide additional resources to speed up the rescue efforts as a priority.”

More to follow.

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