Remains of Ghanaian football star Christian Atsu, repatriated to his home country.
Ghana foreign ministry have announced that the remains of Christian Atsu, a former international football, were transported back to his home country after he tragically passed away in a powerful earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6.
The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.8, caused over 44,000 fatalities across both nations.
Despite initial reports that the 31-year-old former Chelsea and Newcastle player had been rescued a day after the earthquake, it was later discovered that these were inaccurate, and his body was eventually discovered on Saturday.
“The remains will be accompanied by his family and Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey on a Turkish airlines flight and will arrive in Accra (Ghana’s capital) at 7.40pm Sunday,” the foreign ministry said.
According to the ministry, Atsu’s twin sister and older brother were present when rescue workers recovered his body on Saturday.
Meanwhile, his wife Marie-Claire Rupio and their children paid tribute to the late footballer from the stands of St James’ Park during Newcastle’s Premier League against Liverpool.
Atsu, who had scored a total of 33 career goals, played his final match for Hatayspor in Turkey’s Super Lig on February 5, just hours before the devastating earthquake hit the region.
“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.”
Christian Atsu had previously represented his national team, the Black Stars, before his untimely passing.
Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, expressed his condolences, stating that “the world of football has lost one of its greatest ambassadors, and it will be a challenge to find someone who can fill his shoes.”