Christian Atsu: Former Chelsea and Newcastle player found dead in Turkey earthquake

Club Hatayspor offer condolences and say his body will be flown to Ghana for funeral

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Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the building where he lived in southern Turkey after last week's massive earthquake, the former Chelsea winger's Turkish agent and his club confirmed.

Atsu, 31, was among the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6 and killed more than 44,000 people in both countries.

Early reports suggested he had been rescued a day after the quake, but it turned out to be false.

Atsu's manager in Turkey, Murat Uzunmehmet, told DHA news agency on Saturday that his body had been found under the rubble in the Turkish southern province of Hatay.

"We have reached his lifeless body. His belongings are still being removed. His phone was also found," Uzunmehmet told DHA.

Midfielder Atsu spent four seasons at Chelsea before a permanent transfer to Newcastle in 2017. He signed in September for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor.

His club Hatayspor also confirmed the news on social media, stating that the body of Atsu will be sent to Ghana for funeral.

"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," Hatayspor posted on Twitter.

Atsu 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."

"Chelsea sends our heartfelt condolences to Christian's family and friends and to all those affected by the earthquake tragedy," the London club said in a statement.

Updated: February 19, 2023, 4:18 AM