Christian Atsu was laid to rest in Ghana today after he was killed in the horror Turkey
Atsu, 31, was caught up in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria
on February 6, killing more than 54,000 people in both countries. He had gone
missing following the collapse of an apartment building in Hatay.
There were initial reports the player had been pulled alive a day after the quake, but
these turned out to be false and his body was later found under the rubble and flown
back to Ghana.
Mourners silently filed past Atsu’s coffin, which arrived draped in Ghana’s national
flag. Family, fans and beneficiaries of his charitable donations remembered him as a
“He’s even more than a football player,” said Fedna Asare, a family friend. “His name
will forever be in our hearts because he has helped a lot of people.”
Atsu, 31, spent four seasons at Chelsea before a permanent transfer to Newcastle in
- He signed in September for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor, based in Hatay,
near the epicentre of the earthquake.
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He won the last of his 60 Ghana national caps in September 2019.
Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake but
the Ghanaian had opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a
February 5 Super Lig match. It was the last of his 33 career goals for Hatayspor.
Atsu’s older brother and twin sister were present at the site when his body was
recovered, Ghana’s foreign ministry said.
A tribute was held for Atsu on February 18, attended by his widow Marie-Claire Rupio
and their three children, at St James’ Park before Newcastle’s Premier League match
“There are no words to describe our sadness,” tweeted his Turkish top-flight club in
homage to him.
“We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person.”