Photo Credit: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
Ghana's Christian Atsu found dead Weeks After Turkey Earthquake
Ghana winger Christian Atsu was found dead under the rubble of the building he lived in in southern Turkey. He was only 31.
After almost two weeks of searching, Ghana winger Christian Atsu was found dead under the rubble of the building he lived in in southern Turkey, his agent, Nana Sechere, announced on Saturday. He was only 31.
“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,” Nana Sechere wrote in a tweet. “My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones.”
\u201cIt is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well wishers that sadly Christian Atsu\u2019s body was recovered this morning\n\nMy deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support\u201d— Nana Sechere (@Nana Sechere) 1676705517
Atsu, who was born in Ada Foah and would later be a member of Ghana’s World Cup team in 2014 at age 24, played for the Turkish club Hatayspor. He joined the club just last year. Before that, he was a member of a number of European clubs, including Porto, Chelsea, and Newcastle United. Before his stint with European teams, he had a successful run with Ghana's national team, the Black Stars; in 2015 he won the player of the tournament award during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Just a day before the earthquake, Atsu scored a game-winning goal against Kasimpaşa. After the news was released, Hatayspor sent out a tweet honoring the player: "There are no words to describe our sadness." They also announced that Atsu's body was being transported back to Ghana for the funeral.
\u201cThe 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.\nREST in PEACE ATSU\u201d— Hatayspor (@Hatayspor) 1676707611
It has been a traumatic week for friends, family, and fans of Atsu. On Tuesday, February 6, Atsu was reported to have been pulled out alive from the wreckage after 26 hours and was taken to the hospital for treatment. However, by Wednesday, February 8, Gurbey Kahveci, the team doctor of the club, said that both Atsu and the sporting director, Taner Savut, were still yet to be found, indicating a case of mistaken identity. (Savut has still not been found.)
Since the earthquake, the building they were living in, the 12-story Ronesans Rezidans building, has come under scrutiny for how easily it crumbled after the earthquake. Even more controversially, The building's contractor was reportedly detained after apparently trying to leave the country.
News of Atsu's death shocked the global soccer community, with players and clubs sending out their conldoansces.
\u201cI extend sincere, heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and family of our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, on the sad news of his death. Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He\u2019ll be sorely missed. 1/2\u201d— Nana Akufo-Addo (@Nana Akufo-Addo) 1676717711
\u201cWe are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey's devastating earthquakes.\n\nA talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.\n\nRest in peace, Christian. \ud83d\udda4\ud83e\udd0d\u201d— Newcastle United FC (@Newcastle United FC) 1676710508
\u201cWe are deeply saddened by the news Christian Atsu lost his life in the devastation of the earthquakes that have hit Turkey and Syria.\n\u00a0\nOur thoughts and condolences are with Christian's family and friends and everyone affected by this tragic event.\u201d— Premier League (@Premier League) 1676712996
\u201c\ud83d\ude22\ud83d\ude22\ud83d\ude22 fly high bro bro \ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffd\u2764\ufe0f\u201d— DeAndre Yedlin (@DeAndre Yedlin) 1676723787
\u201cOh he is so wonderful. \u2764\ufe0f\u201d— Newcastle United FC (@Newcastle United FC) 1676711940
\u201cDeeply saddened to hear about the passing of Atsu, truly a great human being and I personally had a great relationship with him during my time at Newcastle United. More importantly Thoughts and Prayers for his family + all those affected from the earthquakes. \ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffe\u2764\ufe0f\u201d— Rolando Aarons (@Rolando Aarons) 1676719970
On February 6th, 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, with the Hatay province where Atsu was living hit the hardest. The death toll is massive: at least 45,000 people have already been reported death. And the death roll is only expected to rise.
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