The world is still reeling over those lost in the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria Feb. 6. The death toll, which is currently at 47,000, continues to rise and bodies are still being discovered in the rubble weeks after the devastating earthquake hit.

The body of Ghanaian soccer star Christian Atsu was discovered in the rubble Feb. 19, nearly two weeks following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Atsu, 31, went missing after the historic earthquake hit Turkey and Syria and his apartment building was reduced to rubble. His body was discovered by officials and his brother and sister, who had been searching for the soccer star, nearly two weeks following the earthquake.

According to, government officials have declared Atsu will receive a state burial. Tributes have poured in with many expressing their condolences to the footballer’s family and loved ones. Atsu had played in the Saudi Pro League for Al Read FC and several English clubs, including Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle before moving to Hatayspor last year. 

A devout Christian, Atsu grew up in Ada Foha (Greater Accra) in extreme poverty as one of 10 siblings. He attended the West African Soccer Academy in Sogakope and at age 17, was called up by Porto. After being loaned out, Atsu returned to Porto and won his first national championship with them in 2012-2013. A winger, Atsu went on to have a successful soccer career, often dominating the midfielder and left back positions.

Soccer player Christian Atsu in his last soccer game, the day before he perished in the 2023 earthquake in Turkey. (Photo: Twitter/ChristianAtsu

Atsu will reportedly have a state burial March 4 in Accra. In 2013, Atsu played for Ghana’s African Cup team. In 2014, he was selected for FIFA’s 2014 World Cup team.

Atsu is survived by his wife, German author Marie-Claire Rupio, two sons and a daughter. He was 31.

Read more about Atsu at

This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor in chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire, celebrating a decade of excellence. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Twitter @BurtonWireNews.

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