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World News

Former Newcastle footballer and churchgoer Christian Atsu found dead after Turkey earthquake

by Kelly Valencia

The body of former Newcastle footballer Christian Atsu has been found under a collapsed building following Turkey's earthquakes last week.

The Ghana international had been playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor.

His agent Nana Sechere confirmed the news on Twitter. He wrote: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning.

“My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.”

The 31-year-old was a devout Christian and would often use his high profile to share his faith. He used to attend Hillsong Church Newcastle during his time at Newcastle United.

In 2018, he told Ghana Sports he became a Christian at the age of 16 and has since tried to “imitate the life that Jesus Christ was living”.

He said: “Sometimes I would complain to God a lot. Sometimes, ‘why should I suffer like this? Why should some people have it easy?’ When I was growing up, I would read the Bible, trying to understand everything. Why? Why? Why?’

“Then I realised that I was complaining too much. God’s power has to be manifested in my life for people to see how far he has brought me. The Bible says it is not by our hard work. For example, like me – it is not just by my hard work, though I am working hard, but it is the will of God, the grace of God, that has brought me this far.”

In another interview with a Ghanaian local news outlet, Atsu said God was “everything” to him.

“God is my life and everything. The Bible says ‘that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans’ (Romans 8:28) God causes everything to work out for those who love him and those who are called according to his purpose. If you follow God and believe in him, I believe everything will be ok."

Ballers in God, a community of Christian footballers paid tribute to Atsu. Writing in an Instagram post, it said: “We humbly ask that you remember his wife, children, family, loved ones and colleagues in prayer through this incredibly difficult time. May the Lord comfort in a way only He can.”

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