Christian Atsu, a professional soccer player from Ghana, died on the sixth of February in the aftermath of the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” his agent, Murat Uzunmehmet, told reporters after he was reported missing. “Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.” Since this initial announcement, the winger’s body was sent to the capital’s Kotoko International Airport by Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and a large military honor guard, according to ESPN.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to his wife and children, the family, loved ones, and the football community,” the Ghana Football Association shared in a statement issued over the weekend. “May his soul rest in peace.”
In similar fashion, the Premier Soccer League mourned the death of Atsu on social media. “We are deeply saddened by the news Christian Atsu lost his life in the devastation of the earthquakes that have hit Turkey and Syria,” the club wrote. “Our thoughts and condolences are with Christian’s family and friends and everyone affected by this tragic event.”
Additionally, the soccer player’s own team expressed the sentiments on Twitter, “We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.”
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The Turkey-Syria earthquake that left Christian Atsu and thousands of others dead is among the largest in the region’s history.
The professional soccer club Hatayspor is located in the city of Antakya, a location that was hit the hardest in Southern Turkey during the earthquake. The natural disaster also struck central and northern Syria and is considered to be one of the strongest and deadliest quakes in the history of the Levant.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) relayed that the quake had a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of at least 10 kilometers. The death toll is reported to be at 46,000 and continues to rise every day. The disaster left many buildings unstable, including that of Atsu’s apartment building, and the Turkish prime minister is insisting that the public stay away from large structures in case of a collapse or an aftershock.
“I wish for our injured patients, local people, and all the people of our country to get well soon. May Allah ease our pain with health and well-being and protect us from new pains and worries,” Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said, according to CNN.
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