The body of ex Premier League star Christian Atsu arrives in

The body of ex-Premier League star Christian Atsu arrives in Ghana after his death in an earthquake in Turkey

Footballer Christian Atsu was honored when his body was transported to Ghana ten days after his death in Turkey’s devastating earthquake.

The death of former Newcastle midfielder Atsu was announced on Saturday by his agent Nana Sechere, who said the player’s body was found 12 days after the disaster in Turkey and Syria that killed more than 44,000 people .

Ghana international Atsu, who was 31 and counted Chelsea, Everton and Porto among his former clubs, was playing for Turkish super league club Hatayspor at the time of his death.

Atsu has been an ambassador for global children’s charity Arms Around The Child (AATC) since 2016 and has been the lead supporter of a new school nearing completion in Senya Beraku, Ghana.

There he visited children and the project several times.

Christian Atsu was described as

Christian Atsu was described as “a wonderful man” whose “legacy will live on” by a children’s charity he represented as his body was repatriated to Ghana today

The coffin containing Christian Atsu's body arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana today

The coffin containing Christian Atsu’s body arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Ghana today

A spokesman for the AATC said: “It is with immense pain and disbelief that we write these words. We held onto the hope that Christian would survive and be found in the rubble of the tragic earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

“Christian Atsu was a truly unique and wonderful man and his legacy will live on in the many hundreds if not thousands of lives he helped.

“He will live in our memories as one of the kindest, most talented and humble people to walk this world.

“A young boy from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful football career, using his talent and platform to help others.

“Arms Around The Child was fortunate to have known Christian and will appreciate his support for the children we serve, especially the children in Senya Beraku where Christian built a school in the local community. Christian believed in giving children a brighter future and the opportunity to succeed.

“He never forgot his own roots and didn’t want to see children being abused, locked up, affected by HIV, trafficked or sold anymore.

“He was determined to use his notoriety as a footballer to prevent that from happening.

“He had also supported the Crime Check Foundation in Ghana in their work to pay fines for petty crimes that had led to incarceration and to help people reintegrate into society and get back on their feet.

Christian Atsu's family awaits the arrival of his coffin at the airport

Christian Atsu’s family awaits the arrival of his coffin at the airport

Pallbearers carried Atsu's coffin as he was escorted off the plane to his final resting place

Pallbearers carried Atsu’s coffin as he was escorted off the plane to his final resting place

“Whenever Christian visited Senya, the children and the community were always so happy to see him. They would receive him like a hero, but also like a father, uncle, or brother, since everyone felt such close affection for him.

“He greeted everyone with smiles and hugs and made each individual, child or adult, feel important and that they could dream and succeed in life. Christian loved the children and always took off his shoes to play barefoot soccer with them, which he loved to do whenever he visited.

“The kids looked up to him, he showed them that they can have dreams for a better future and that dreams can be achieved through education.

“That’s why Christian was so passionate about building a school, he believed in education for all, especially as a way to solve problems and give children a better future.”

Seth Asiedu, director of one of Atsu’s supported homes in Senya Beraku, said: “Our hearts are broken by the news of our beloved brother Christian Atsu.

“We have always felt the impact of his presence and have been filled with joy whenever he has visited us.

“The happiness he brought to so many will leave a painful void, but we will always remember his kind heart and bright, contagious and cheerful smile. Thank you Christian, we love you.’