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Body of Ghana star Christian Atsu killed in Türkiye earthquake flown home

The remains of former Ghana international footballer Christian Atsu who died in the devastating earthquake in Türkiye were being flown home on Sunday, the country’s foreign ministry said.

Atsu, 31, was caught up in the 7.7-magnitude quake that rocked Türkiye and Syria on February 6, killing more than 46,000 people in both countries.

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

“The remains will be accompanied by his family and Ghana’s ambassador to Türkiye on a Turkish airlines flight and will arrive in Accra (Ghana’s capital) at 7:40 pm Sunday,” the foreign ministry said.

On Saturday, the ministry said that Atsu’s older brother and twin sister were present at the site of the rescue in Türkiye when his body was recovered.

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

Atsu scored the last of his 33 career goals for Hatayspor in Türkiye’s Super Lig on February 5, just hours be fore the quake struck.

He previously played for his national team the Black Stars and Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said “football has lost one of its finest ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace”.

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