Christian Atsu’s wife shares heartbreaking message after tragic death

The wife of Christian Atsu has detailed her heartbreaking struggle following the tragic loss of her husband, who was one of 47,000 people killed by the catastrophic earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria at the beginning of the month. The body of the late Hatayspor winger, who played for Newcastle, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Everton during his professional career, was finally discovered last week following a gruelling search for answers as his family’s worst fears were realised.

The remains of Atsu have since been transported to his homeland of Ghana, where he will be laid to rest.

His partner Marie-Claire Rupio was pictured in tears alongside her three children at St James’ Park on Saturday as the club made a heart-warming tribute to their former player before the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Travelling Reds supporters also sang a rendition of You’ll Never Walk as the players and crowd paid their respects to Atsu.

Speaking for the first time since Hatayspor confirmed the passing of their player, Rupio detailed the ongoing struggles with saying the hardest of goodbyes.

In a recording shared with Accra-based radio station Peace FM (via Ghana Web), Rupio said: “Hey everyone, a lot of you are asking if I am okay now; I am not okay but I am trying.

“I am trying to be strong. I have three kids, they need me. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to sleep, I don’t want to do nothing.

“I just want to be there with him. But life goes on and even though it hurts. It hurts right here so much but I am trying and I will be there for my kids. I miss him, I miss him so much.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe revealed he made reference to the passing of Atsu during his pre-match team talk with his Magpies players, many of whom knew him well having played with him on Tyneside.

“It’s a real tragedy for Christian and his family,” Howe said post-match.

“I woke up to the news and I was truly devastated. A lot of players in our dressing room played with him – I made reference to that in my pre-match chat with the players.”

Ex-Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez worked with the player during his time at St James’ Park and the Spaniard has revealed he has struggled to digest the news.

“Yeah, obviously it’s really sad,” Benitez said. “I was following the news for a while because they said he was fine. I was in contact with an ex player and he said he felt it would be bad news.

“He was a special person who was a good professional – nice lad, great player. He always had a smile. Really sad for him and everyone involved – sad news.

‘I was in contact with him last month, we had some messages. It was really badly… it’s difficult for me in English, I was feeling so bad.”

Atsu played 65 times for his country Ghana, scoring nine times having also represented Porto, Rio Ave, Vitesse, Malaga and Al Raed during his playing career.

His final act on a football field was an exquisite 97th-minute free-kick for Hatayspor in their 1-0 win over Kasimpasa on February 5.

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