Footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of his home almost two weeks after the Turkey earthquake, his agent has confirmed.
The 31-year-old, who played for Super Lig side Hatayspor, was in his ninth-floor apartment when two devastating earthquakes struck, killing at least 45,000 people across Turkey and Syria.
Shortly afterwards, there had been reports claiming Atsu had been rescued from the rubble, though it soon emerged that was not the case.
The search for the former Chelsea and Newcastle player had continued, with a pair of his shoes found several days ago, and now his agent, Nana Sechere, has confirmed that his body has been recovered.
A statement from Sechere on Saturday morning read: ‘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.
‘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.
‘I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.’
Another of Atsu’s representatives, Murat Uzunmehmet, also confirmed the sad news, saying: ‘Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.’
Last Tuesday, Sechere had provided a detailed update on the search for Atsu, saying: ‘I am at the quake site in Hatay with Christian’s family. The scenes are unimaginable and our hearts are broken for all the people affected. During my time here we have been able to locate Christian Atsu’s exact room location, and we have found two pairs of his shoes.
‘Yesterday we received confirmation that thermal imagery was showing signs of up to five lives, however, I am told that the only real confirmation of life is through sight, smell and sound, and unfortunately we were not able [to] locate Christian.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES