Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote died aged 30 after he collapsed during a training session at his Chinese second-tier club Beijing Enterprises on Monday.
Tiote was taken to a local hospital soon after, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. According to reports, the Ivorian died when he suffered a heart attack during the training. He had moved to China after his seven-year stint with Newcastle United came to an end at the end of last season and had been living on his own.
"During a routine training session at 6pm today, Ivory Coast player Cheick Tioté suddenly fainted and the club immediately rushed him to hospital, but unfortunately efforts to save him failed and he passed away at 7pm," Beijing Enterprises said in a statement, as quoted by The Guardian.
"The player's relatives have been informed. Beijing Enterprises football club expresses its deep sorrow and profound condolences for Mr Tioté's untimely death."
Notably, Titote's wife was expecting their third child this week and the news of his demise comes as a shock to the football fraternity. Former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew expressed his condolence and said he would never be able to forget the Ivorian's goal that helped his side make a stunning comeback from being 4-0 down to secure a 4-4 draw against Arsenal in 2011.
"None of us will ever forget that incredible day when our Newcastle team came from 4-0 down to draw an unbelievable Premier League game against Arsenal, with Cheick's incredible goal. I loved him," Pardew said, according to the report.
"He was everything that you want in a Newcastle player. Life is not fair sometimes and I will remember Cheick Tioté as a giant of a midfielder whom I loved to manage."
Tiote made more than 150 appearances for the Magpies after he signed with them in 2010, before which he played with Dutch side Twente. He also featured in two World Cups - 2010 and 2014 - and played an instrumental part when Ivory Coast lifted the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
IBTimes Singapore has compiled some of reactions to Tiote's sudden demise.