The former Newcastle United player Cheick Tioté has died aged 30.
Tioté collapsed during a training session with the Chinese League One side Beijing Enterprises on Monday. He was subsequently rushed to local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Tioté’s agent Emanuele Palladino confirmed the death of his client in a short statement and asked for the privacy of the player’s family to be respected. Tioté’s wife, Madah, is expecting their third child together this week.
“It is with deep sadness that I confirm that my client Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises,” he said in a short statement.
“We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family’s privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
“We ask for all your prayers.”
In a separate statement, Tioté’s club Beijing Enterprises confirmed that the player had fainted during a routine training session before being rushed to hospital.
“During a routine training session at 6pm today, Ivory Coast player Cheik Tioté suddenly fainted and the club immediately rushed him to hospital, but unfortunately efforts to save him failed and he passed away at 7pm,” the club’s statement read.
“The player’s relatives have been informed. Beijing Enterprises football club expresses its deep sorrow and profound condolences for Mr Tiote’s untimely death.”
Tioté was living on his own in the country since leaving Newcastle in February. His wife, Madah, is expecting their third child together this week.
Newcastle confirmed Tioté’s death in a subsequent statement which said the club was “devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing” of the player.
Tioté began his career for the Ivorian minor league side FC Bibo. He later moved to Anderlecht as a teenager, before moving to FC Twente in 2008.
Newcastle signed the player from the Eredivisie side for a fee in the region of £3.5m in August 2010. He would go on to spend six seasons playing in the Premier League with Newcastle, playing for the club over 150 times.
In February 2017, he departed for Chinese second-flight side Beijing Enterprises for an undisclosed fee.
Tioté represented his country 52 times and played at both the 2010 and 2014 Fifa World Cups.
A number of figures from the world of football offered their condolences to Tioté’s family on social media.
His former Newcastle team-mate Demba Ba was one of the first to react to the tragic news, writing:
Another former team-mate, the retired goalkeeper Stephen Harper, wrote: “Gutted to hear the awful news about my former teammate Cheik Tioté today. Thoughts with his friends and family.”
Rafa Benitez, who briefly managed the player at Newcastle, said in a short statement: “It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick’s death.
“In the all the time that I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man. Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time.”
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who played with Tioté at Anderlecht, added: “I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tioté was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in piece brother.”