There was terrible and tragic news today that former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote collapsed and died in China during training with his latest club Beijing Enterprises.
This is an unexpected and terrible tragedy with Cheick in the prime of his life at just 30 years of age.
My son Neil called me as I was on my way home from the hospital this afternoon and told me of the shocking news.
Rafa Benitez and Cheick Tiote last year
The Newcastle United club have issued this statement on their web-site:
We are devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing of Cheick Tiote at the age of just 30.
The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Cheick’s family, friends, teammates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented.
The Ivory Coast midfielder, who made more than 150 appearances for the Magpies between 2010 and 2017, was training with his current club, Bejiing Enterprises, on Monday when he collapsed.
He was taken to hospital but sadly passed away.
Cheick cemented his place in Newcastle folklore with his dramatic equalizer in the 4-4 draw against Arsenal in February 2011.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez had this to say about Cheick’s tragic death:
“It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick’s death.
“In 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.”?
With the money Cheick made from football he was able to support most of his family of sisters and brothers and also his own family.
It is still a real shock as we write this.
Cheick played 156 times for Newcastle with only one goal – but it is one of the most dramatic goals ever scored in Newcastle’s long and glorious history.
He also represented Ivory Coast with 52 caps.
Here’s the really classic video of that goal in February, 2011 at home to Arsenal and the commentary from our local commentators at Newcastle who went crazy.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Cheick’s family and friends everywhere.
Cheick Tiote 1986 – 2017 Rest in Peace