London - Ivory
Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while
training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesperson
announced in a statement on Monday.
Tiote, who was part of the
Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a
23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to
China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit
"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," Tiote's spokesman
Emanuele Palladino said.
"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."
manager Rafael Benitez paid tribute to the talented Tiote, one of 10
children who like many of his international team-mates grew up in abject
poverty and didn't possess a pair of boots until he was 15.
"It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick's death," Benitez told the Newcastle website.
"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."
moved to Newcastle from Dutch side FC Twente in 2010 and made 161
appearances for the Magpies, scoring once - the equaliser when
Newcastle recovered from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal in 2011.
52-times capped Tiote, who was in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup
squads, began his European club career with Belgian outfit Anderlecht
but only played four times in three years with them - being loaned out
to Dutch side Roda JC Kerkrade - before moving to Twente in 2008.
said in a statement they were "devastated" whilst Alan Pardew, who was
manager of Newcastle for a large part of the time Tiote was there said
his goal in the 4-4 draw with Arsenal was an iconic moment of Premier
"I'm devastated to hear the news about my former
player and friend Cheick Tiote," Pardew said in a statement, quoted by
"From the moment I arrived at Newcastle, Cheick
was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances
on the field often defied belief."
"I loved him. He's everything that you want in a Newcastle player.
hear the news that he has passed away at the age of 30 breaks my heart
and my sympathies go out to all his family and friends who will be
devastated by this news."