Tributes have been pouring in for former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote, following his death after collapsing during training in China. He was aged 30.
In his seven years at United the Ivory Coast player made over 150 appearances, including three last season.
Born in the Ivory Coast, Tiote was part of the Ivorian squad that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
He began his professional career in Belgium with Anderlecht in 2005 before moving to Dutch side FC Twente, where he made 86 appearances and won the Eredivisie league title in the 2009-10 season under manager Steve McClaren.
Tiote, a defensive midfielder, then signed for Newcastle in 2010 for £3.5m.
He joined Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises from Newcastle in February for an undisclosed amount.
A statement from Newscastle said: “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, team-mates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented.”
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said: “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.”
Former Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper posted: “Gutted to hear the awful news about my former teammate Cheick Tiote today. Thoughts with his friends and family.”
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who played with Tiote at Anderlecht, tweeted: “I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tioté was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in peace brother.”
Former Newcastle and current Stoke City goalkeeper Shay Given said on Twitter: “Shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of Cheick Tioté, I pass on my condolences to his friends & family, way too young.”
Papiss Cisse, who played with Tiote from 2012-2014 at Newcastle, tweeted: “Goodnight brother, You will be missed. My heart goes out to his family. Gone too soon.”
Newcastle midfielder Siem de Jong said: “Terrible news, R.I.P. Tiote. Always enjoyed sitting next to you in the dressing room my friend.”
Match of the day commentator Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “Dreadful news that Cheick Tiote has passed away. So young. So tragic.”