Ex-Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote has died after collapsing during a training session for Chinese second division outfit Beijing Enterprises.
The 30-year-old has been playing in the Middle East since January, after leaving Tyneside after a seven-year spell at the club.
Confirming the fears
Around 3pm Monday afternoon, rumours started to emerge on Twitter that Tiote was in hospital after falling unconscious during a training session.
Soon after, his agent, Emanuele Palladino confirmed the news.
"It is with deep sadness I confirm that Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training.
"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," admitted the spokesman.
Tiote struggled to consistently hold down a place in Newcastle's first team but will always be remembered for his moments of magic on Tyneside.
Most famously, his thunderous strike against Arsenal which ensured Newcastle came from four goals down to draw 4-4 at St. James' Park.
The Ivory Coast midfielder spent seven years in the North East of England, making over 150 appearances for the Magpies.
After the news broke, tributes started to pour in from all across the sporting world.
Former coach Alan Pardew said: "I am devastated to hear the news about my former player and friend Cheick Tiote.
“From the moment I arrived at Newcastle , Cheick was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances on the field often defied belief."
While another former manager of Tiote's, Rafa Benitez also shared his condolences.
"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."
The responses of his former coaches and teammates show just how well-liked the player was.