Shocking news has filtered through this afternoon that Cheick Tiote, the former Newcastle United midfielder, has passed away at the tragically young age of 30.
It was reported by BBC Sport’s Tim Hague that Tiote, who left Newcastle for Beijing Enterprises earlier this year, collapsed during training and subsequently died.
The news was then confirmed by the Daily Mail’s North East football correspondent Craig Hope.
Tiote spent seven years at St James’ Park, joining the Magpies from FC Twente for a fee of £3.5 million.
His tenacity saw him establish himself as a firm favourite in the eyes of the Newcastle fans and, at his peak, he was one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.
Tiote scored his most memorable goal against Arsenal
Arsenal reportedly attempted to sign the tough-tackling Ivory Coast international in the summer of 2014 but a move to the Emirates Stadium failed to materialise.
It was against the Gunners, though, that Tiote scored his most famous goal.
Newcastle came back from 4-0 down, with Tiote scoring a sublime 87th-minute winner.
Watch it here…
Demba Ba posts emotional tweet
Demba Ba, Tiote’s former Newcastle teammate, was the first player to react to the news on social media.
The Senegalese striker has been playing in China, with Shanghai Shenhua, since 2015 - and he was one of the first to hear about Tiote’s shock passing.
He tweeted: “😭😭😭 may Allah gives grant you jannah brother Tiote 😭😭😭“
Jannah, for those unaware, is the Islamic concept of paradise.
Ba then posted the following on Instagram...
A WhatsApp conversation he had with Yusuf Abubakar Tumi shortly before his untimely death has also been posted on Twitter...
Jonas Gutierrez has also tweeted...
Rest in Peace, Cheick.