Former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote died Monday after collapsing while training with his club, Beijing Enterprises. He was just 30 years old.
"It is with deep sadness I confirm that Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training," a spokesman for the player told the BBC. "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."
The Ivory Coast midfielder made more than 150 appearances for the Magpies between 2010 and 2017.
Tiote became a fan favorite in February 2011 when he scored an incredible goal to level a match against Arsenal, in which the Magpies had trailed by four at half-time.
Newcastle released a statement saying, "The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Cheick's family, friends, teammates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented."
Former Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew told ESPN he was "devasted" to hear the news of Tiote's death.
"I loved him," Pardew told ESPN. "He was everything that you want in a Newcastle player. He had the quality, and of course, you'll never underestimate the fact that he wants to win."