BEIJING – Agence France-Presse
Cheick Tiote’s Chinese club said the cause of his death was still under investigation on June 6after the Ivory Coast international collapsed in training and died.
Tributes poured in for the former Newcastle United midfielder, who moved to China’s second-tier Beijing Enterprises in February after seven years in England’s north-east.
Beijing Enterprises described how Tiote, 30, “suddenly fainted” during training on June 5 and was rushed to hospital, where he died.
The club’s general manager Yang Junsheng told reporters that authorities were still trying to determine the cause of death.
“We will remember the spirit that he brought us and his football ideals,” Yang added.
As fellow players paid tribute to the popular, hard-tackling midfielder, a group of fans laid a bouquet of white flowers on the pitch at Beijing’s National Olympic Sports Centre stadium.
Ivory Coast team-mate Gervinho, who plays for China’s Hebei China
Fortune, described Tiote as a “warrior” and a “champion.”
“May your soul rest in peace,” he said on Twitter.
Brazil’s Oscar, now at Shanghai SIPG after moving from Chelsea, tweeted: “Rest in peace, Cheick Tiote. My family prays for your family.”
Tiote was well known in English football circles after his stint with Newcastle, including six Premier League campaigns before their relegation last year.
He is perhaps best remembered for his crunching left-foot volley from 25 yards to secure a 4-4 draw with Arsenal in 2011.
Tiote was also part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23-year drought.