North East pays tribute to former Newcastle United star Christian Atsu after his death is confirmed

Tributes from across the North East have been paid to former Newcastle United star Christian Atsu, after his death was confirmed.

The 31-year-old was found in the rubble of his apartment block in Turkey almost two weeks after the devastating earthquake which hit the country.

His agent made the announcement that the former Newcastle United, Chelsea and Everton player's body had been recovered southern province of Hatay.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well-wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning," Nana Sechere said.

"My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support."

Following the news of his death, Newcastle United posted their own tribute on social media.

The winger made 121 appearances for the Magpies, helping the team win promotion back to the Premier League in 2017.

In a statement, Newcastle United said they were saddened by the tragedy, adding that Atsu was a "talented player and a special person". They added: "He will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters. Rest in peace, Christian."

On Wearside, Sunderland AFC honoured the Newcastle player with their own post on social media.

The club tweeted "Rest in peace, Christian."

Off the pitch, the Ghana international devoted his time to his family and charity work, including helping to build a school in his home country through the charity Arms Around The Child.

In a statement, they said: "Christian Atsu was a truly unique and wonderful man, and his legacy will live on through the many hundreds if not thousands of lives he has helped. He will live in our memories as one of the kindest, most talented, humble people to enter this world.

"A young boy from poverty in Ghana who followed his dreams had an incredibly successful footballing career and used his talent and platform to help others."

In the North East, the former Newcastle United star was involved with the anti-racism charity the Arthur Wharton foundation in Darlington.

Meanwhile, the Northumberland FA posted their own tribute to the footballer, following a similar post paying tribute to the former Magpie by the Football Association.

In their tweet, the Northumberland FA said: "RIP Christian. A thoroughly good man who loved our area. All of our thoughts are with his loved ones."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...