Body of Ghana star Atsu killed in Turkey earthquake flown home

The remains of former Ghana footballer Christian Atsu, who died in the devastating earthquake in Turkey, were brought home on Sunday, according to the country’s foreign ministry.

Atsu, 31, was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing more than 44,000 people in both countries.

There were initial reports that the former Chelsea and Newcastle player had been rescued a day after the quake, but they turned out to be false and his body was found on Saturday.

“The remains will be accompanied by his family and the Ghanaian Ambassador to Turkey on a Turkish Airlines flight and will arrive in Accra (the capital of Ghana) on Sunday at 19:40,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said on Saturday that Atsu’s older brother and twin sister were present at the rescue site when his body was removed.

His widow Marie-Claire Rupio and their three children were in the stands at St James’s Park on Saturday to join the player’s tribute ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League game against Liverpool.

Atsu scored the last of his 33 career goals for Hatayspor in the Turkish Super League on 5 February, hours before the earthquake.

“There are no words to describe our sadness,” his Turkish top club tweeted in a nod to him.

“We won’t forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful man.”

He previously played for his Black Stars national team and Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo said that “football has lost one of its best ambassadors who will be hard to replace.”



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