Cheick Tiote DEAD: Ex-Newcastle star dies aged 30, former clubs and team-mates pay tribute
The news first broke out of China this afternoon, where the former Newcastle star is playing for Chiense second-tier side Beijing Enterprises, that he had been taken ill after training.
It appears he was subsequently rushed to hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead.
His former club Newcastle released a short statement following confirmation of Tiote's death: "We are devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing of former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote in China today."
And a spokesman for the player, Emanuele Palladino, said: "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.
"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."
Current Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said: "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."
Club captain Jamaal Lascelles said: "There are not words to express how saddened I am to hear the news that Cheick has died this afternoon.
"I have spoken to the team and non of us can believe it, my thoughts are with his family at this time. RIP Cheicky"
Anderlecht, who first signed Tiote from Ivorian side FC Bibo, wrote: "Another young man taken way too soon... #RIP Cheik Tiote Our thoughts are with his family."
Tiote made his professional debut for Anderlecht in 2005 before moving to FC Twente three years later.
The defensive midfielder then secured a £3.5million switch to Newcastle in 2010.
FC Twente posted a statement that read: "What a terrible news: Cheick Tiote (30) is today suddenly died. We wish family and survivors much strength."
Tiote won the Eredivisie title with FC Twente in 2010.
And Twente legend Jan van Halst said: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by his sudden death. Cheick was a great guy and a great professional.
"He was introverted and could enjoy silence of things. As a player Cheick was hard but fair and above all very strong. So we will always remember him at FC Twente.
"We wish family, friends and survivors much strength to process this loss."
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