Christian Benitez, the 27-year-old Ecuador international, who has also represented Birmingham City died on Monday, his club El Jaish have confirmed.
However, the cause of his death is not disclosed yet.
Benitez, who joined Qatari club El Jaish last month for a fee of £10m, passed away even before making a debut for his new club. Football players have expressed their condolences on twitter.
Liverpool and Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva tweeted:
What a horrible news !!RIP Christian Benitez
— Lucas Leiva (@LucasLeiva87) July 29, 2013
Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner joined the tributes by tweeting:
Can’t believe Christian Benitez aka chucho has died had the pleasure to play with him he was a top bloke. My thoughts go out to his family
— Craig Gardner (@CraigGards8) July 29, 2013
The player’s former club, Birmingham City FC tweeted from its official account:
The thoughts of all at Birmingham City Football Club are with the friends and family of Chucho following this very sad news. #RIP
— Birmingham City FC (@BcfcDotCom) July 29, 2013
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta tweeted:
Shocked to hear Christian Benitez has passed away. #RIP
— Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta) July 29, 2013
His international team-mate and close friend, Manchester United‘s Antonio Valencia, said: “Brother, God is with your family, we love you. This strong pain you’ve caused me will stay forever my brother, but we love you.”
His tweet read:
Por siempre vas hacer mi hermano este dolor muy fuerte mi hermano pero te queremos pic.twitter.com/lvspu8NXDy
— Antonio Valencia (@7AntoV) July 29, 2013
Colombia and Monaco striker Falcao said: “Such sad news, the death of footballer Christian Benitez. My thoughts go out to his family and to all the Ecuadorian people. We will miss you Chucho.”
His tweet read:
Triste noticia la muerte dl futbolista Christian Benítez.Mucha fuerza a sus familiares y a todo el pueblo Ecuatoriano.Te extrañaremos Chucho
— Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) July 29, 2013