Christian Atsu, a former Chelsea footballer, was discovered dead in the rubble of his residential building 12 days after the devastating Turkey earthquake. The 31-year-old was reported missing after an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023. According to recent reports, the former Premier League star was misidentified and falsely reported to have been hospitalized last week.
Confirming his death, his agent Nana Sechere expressed his sadness at Atsu’s passing. “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,” he stated.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.”I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time,” he added.
A tweet from his current club Hatayspor read, “Sorry for your loss. 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.”
Atsu scored a last-minute goal for Hatayspor against Turkish rivals Kasimpasa on Sunday, February 5, just hours before the tragic event.
The Ghanaian national has played for several prestigious clubs, including Newcastle, Bournemouth, Malaga, Vitesse, Porto, Everton, and Chelsea.
Since his death was announced, tributes have poured in from his former clubs.
“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,” Newcastle wrote.
“Chelsea sends our heartfelt condolences to Christian’s family and friends and all those affected by the earthquake tragedy,” Chelsea said in a statement.
Atsu had purchased a ticket to Istanbul and planned to leave the country after his game on February 5 to join a new club in France. However, after his team won on Sunday, he decided to stay.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian government is coordinating with the Turkish government to transport the icon’s body to Ghana for burial.