Football has come together to pay tribute after former Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote tragically passed away aged 30.
The Ivorian collapsed during a training session with Chinese League One side Beijing Enterprises on Monday and was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to hospital.
Tioté's agent Emanuele Palladino confirmed the death of his client and asked that the privacy of the player’s family was respected at this time.
"It is with deep sadness that I confirm that my client Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises," he said in a short statement.
"We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family's privacy be respected at this difficult time."
"We ask for all your prayers."
Tiote was a hugely popular player in his time in England and fans and onlookers have rushed to social media to pay tribute.
Demba Ba, a former teammate with the Magpies, was one of the first to speak out about the news, tweeting: "May Allah gives grant you jannah brother Tiote" while club legend Alan Shearer added: "Devastating news of the death of Cheick Tiote. RIP."
Another former teammate at St James' Park, Jonas Gutierrez, added: "Sad news. Always going to be remember our time together at NUFC. Rip my friend."
Siem de Jong tweeted: "Terrible news, R.I.P. Tiote. Always enjoyed sitting next to you in the dressing room my friend," with Peter Lovenkrands adding: "Im shocked and sad to hear about my old teammate Cheick Tiote has past away! My thoughts are with his family and friends. RIPCheikhy."
Former Newcastle player Steve Howey added: "Shocking news about Cheick Tiote, prayers with you and family. Rip."
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who played with Tiote at Anderlecht, said: "I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tiote was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in peace brother."
A statement from Newcastle read: "We are devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing of Cheick Tioté at the age of just 30.
"The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Cheick's family, friends, teammates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented."
Manager Rafa Benitez added: "It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick's death. In the 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."
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