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Death of Ghanaian Footballer Atsu Confirmed After Body Found

FILE - Newcastle United's Christian Atsu inside the stadium before the match against Norwich City as St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain, February 1, 2020

Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the building where he lived in southern Turkey after last week's massive earthquake, the ex-Chelsea winger's Turkish agent said.

"Atsu's lifeless body was found under the rubble," Murat Uzunmehmet told reporters in Hatay, where the athlete's body was found. "Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found."

Ghana's Foreign Ministry has also confirmed the reports through a statement:

"The Ghana Embassy in Turkiye which conveyed the sad news indicates that the body was recovered early this morning Saturday, 18th February, 2023. The elder brother and twin sister of Christian Atsu and an Officer of the Embassy were present at the site when the body was recovered."

Atsu's agent, Nana Sechere declined an interview with VOA but shared a message from the family requesting privacy.

"I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time."

Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor's manager said on Friday the Ghanaian opted to stay with the club after scoring the game-winning goal in a Feb. 5 Super Lig match.

Some information in this report came from Reuters.