Ghanaian soccer star Christian Atsu has been found dead in the rubble after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, his agent said Saturday.
“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, Atsu’s Turkish agent, wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Atsu, 31, had been missing since the earthquake on Feb. 6, after his building in the Hatay province of Turkey collapsed. His death was first reported by rescue worker Murat Uzunmehmet, who told local reporters that “Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” per ESPN.
Born in Ada Foah, Ghana, Atsu began his professional career with the Portuguese club FC Porto before being loaned to a variety of Premier League clubs in the U.K. He signed a one-year contract to play with Turkish club Hatayspor in September 2022. The region where Atsu lived — and where Hatayspor plays — was one of the hardest hit areas from the earthquake.
“We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person,” Hatayspor tweeted, adding that there were “no words to describe our sadness.”
Atsu also played international soccer for Ghana, and started for his national club during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He additionally played in four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
Atsu was a well-known star of the Hatayspor club, and The Guardian reported that he had scored his team’s winning goal in a game just one day before the earthquake.