Former Birmingham City striker Christian Benitez has passed away aged just 27, just weeks after agreeing a move to Qatari side El Jaish.
The striker, who was heavily linked with a move to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur this summer, was reported dead earlier this afternoon.
The shocking and upsetting news comes just weeks after he agreed to join Qatari side El Jaish from Mexican side Club America in a move that cost El Jaish £10million.
The club have released this formal statement after hearing about the passing of Benitez.
"The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.
"Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday's match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.
"His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff.
"He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character."
Benitez, who was better known as 'Chucho', had a loan spell with Birmingham City back in 2009-10 and went on to make 36 appearances for the Blues.
He also won 58 caps for Ecuador, including appearances at the 2006 World Cup.
People have already taken to social networking site Twitter to pay their respect to the Ecuardorian including his compatriot and Manchester United midfielder Antonio Valencia.
The tweet sent out by the United midfielder also included a picture of the two together.
I would like to send my condolences to Benitez's close friends and family as they cope with this tragic and surprising loss.
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