Tributes have flooded in for footballer Christian Atsu as his body was repatriated to Ghana ten days after he was killed in the devastating Turkish earthquake.
Former Newcastle midfielder Atsu’s death was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere, who said the player’s body was found 12 days after the disaster hit Turkey and Syria – claiming more than 44,000 lives.
Ghana international Atsu, who was 31 and counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs, was playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor at the time of his death.
Atsu had been an ambassador for global children’s charity Arms Around The Child (AATC) since 2016, was the main benefactor of a new school that is nearing completion in Senya Beraku in Ghana.
He visited children and the project there on several occasions.
A spokesperson for AATC said: ‘It is with immense pain and disbelief that we have to write these words. We have held onto the hope that Christian would survive and be found in the rubble of the tragic earthquake to hit Turkey and Syria.
‘Christian Atsu was a truly unique and wonderful man, and his legacy will live on through the many hundreds if not thousands of lives he has helped.
‘He will live in our memories as one of the kindest, most talented, humble people to enter this world.
‘A young boy from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful footballing career and used his talent and platform to help others.
‘Arms Around The Child were fortunate to have known Christian and will treasure his support for the children we look after, especially the children in Senya Beraku where Christian was building a school in the local community.
Christian believed in giving children a brighter future and the opportunity to succeed.
‘He never forgot his own roots and didn’t want to see any more children abused, imprisoned, affected by HIV, trafficked or sold.
‘He was determined to use his prominence as a footballer to prevent this.
‘He had also been supporting The Crime Check Foundation in Ghana with their work paying fines for petty crimes which had resulted in incarceration, and helping people reintegrate into society and get back on their feet.