Christian Atsu was found dead under the rubble following the devastating earthquake that occurred two weeks ago, according to a tweet by Turkey-based football agent Murat Uzunmehmet on Saturday morning.
The forward had been trapped for 11 days before being found to have passed away.
It is believed that Murat Uzunmehmet had a close relationship with Christian Atsu, and some credit him for his involvement in the forward’s transfer to Hatayaspor.
Several sources in Turkey appear to support the announcement made by Uzunmehmet about Atsu’s passing.
Footballer Christian Atsu was found dead following a 12-day search amid the rubble of the earthquake that has devastated Turkey and Syria.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle winger’s agent, Murat Uzunnmehmet, confirmed his body had been found in a statement.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found,” he told reporters in Hatay, where Atsu, 31, had been playing for Hatayspor.
Following the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, reports emerged on Monday, February 6 that Christian Atsu was among those trapped under rubble. This led to calls for prayers for his safe recovery, with both current president Nana Akufo-Addo and former president John Mahama involved.
The next day, Atsu’s club confirmed that he had been rescued with only an injured foot. However, Hatayaspor later clarified that it was a case of mistaken identity and Atsu had not been found.
The circulation of videos showing people being rescued strengthened the hope and faith of people that Atsu would also be found alive.
Atsu’s wife Marie-Claire Rupio, who lives in Newcastle with their two children, made a public appeal for more support from authorities to find her husband. Rupio confirmed that Nana Sechere, Atsu’s agent, had arrived in Turkey to assist in the search.
In a series of tweets earlier this week, Sechere gave a heartbreaking update, revealing that Atsu’s shoes had been found but the player was still missing.
This was the last update before the announcement on Saturday of Atsu’s passing.
Ghanaians have taken to social media to pay tribute to Atsu, who played 65 matches between 2012 and 2019, including an outstanding performance at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, where he was named player of the tournament.
Atsu played for various European clubs, such as Chelsea, FC Porto, Newcastle United, Everton, and Bournemouth.
Atsu joined Hatayaspor in September of last year, and just hours before the natural disaster that has claimed over 45,000 lives, he scored his first goal for the club on Sunday, February 5.