Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu, 31, has been found dead in southern Turkey under the rubble of the building he lived in, after last week’s massive earthquakes, his Turkish agent and club said on Saturday.
The former Premier League player, who joined Turkish club Hatayspor last year, had been missing since the February 6 earthquakes devastated southern Turkey and northwestern Syria.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” agent Murat Uzunmehmet told reporters in Hatay.
“Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”
Search teams recovered Atsu’s body in the ruins of Ronesans Residence, a luxury 12-storey building where he had been living, in the city of Antakya in Hatay province.
The building’s contractor was arrested at Istanbul airport last week while apparently trying to leave the country for Montenegro, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the earthquakes, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday that the Ghanaian opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Super Lig match on February
Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs said it had “received the unfortunate news”.
“The elder brother and twin sister of Christian Atsu and an officer of the (Ghanaian) embassy were present at the site when the body was recovered,” the ministry said in a statement.
Atsu joined Hatayspor last September after spells with English Premier League clubs Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United.
There were initial reports that Atsu had been rescued a day after the quakes, but these turned out to be false.