Search teams have uncovered the body of Ghana international soccer player Christian Atsu, his agent revealed on Saturday. Atsu had been missing following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.
The remains of the soccer star, who had been playing for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor, were found amid the ruins of a luxury 12-story building where he had been living in the hard-hit city of Antakya, Hatay province. His relatives had gathered at the site waiting by the wreckage but all to dashed hopes when his remains were found.
"Atsu's lifeless body was found under the rubble. At the moment, his belongings are still being removed," his agent Murat Uzunmehmet, told private news agency DHA.
The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude quake on 6th February in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria passed 43,000 on Friday and was certain to increase as search teams found more bodies.
Atsu, 31-years-old, who previously played for English Premier League clubs Chelsea, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth, signed for Hatayspor from Saudi Arabian side Al Raed FC last year.
Reports a day after the quake struck had said that Atsu was pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building and taken to a hospital for treatment.
Hatayspor, however, announced days later that Atsu and the club's sporting director Taner Savut were still missing. Atsu joined Hatayspor in September 2022 after a season with Saudi Arabian team Al-Raed and scored the winning goal in a Super Lig match on 5 February.
He won 65 caps for Ghana and helped his country reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties.