It still doesn’t seem quite real, that less than 72 hours ago Newcastle fans found out that Cheick Tiote had tragically passed away at the age of only 30 years old.
Collapsing during a Beijing Enterprises FC training session on Monday, despite the efforts of the club staff and emergency services, nothing could be done to save his life.
Only at the club for four months since signing from Newcastle, Beijing Enterprises have paid tribute to the player that they have lost:
“Cheick Tiote was rushed to hospital immediately. However, all revival measures proved ineffective and he died around 7pm on June 5, 2017. The club has already contacted his family.
“Since joining the team, he has made an outstanding contribution to the club and won praise from the club, the coaching team and his teammates with his superb skills and professionalism.
“Beijing BG football club expresses our deepest sorrow following Mr Tiote’s passing.”
The player’s agent, Emanuele Palladino, and Tiote’s family have flown to Beijing to learn more about what actually happened and to make arrangements.
Following the tragedy, Beijing Enterprises fans laid flowers on the edge of the penalty area at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium pitch in the Chinese capital.
Very little had been reported back in the UK about Cheick Tiote and his new team, whilst the top league in China now gets significant coverage, in the Chinese second tier it is a different story.
Cheick Tiote had played in every match and adjusted well to his new surroundings but his team had been struggling.
Also knocked out of the China FA Cup, after 12 league games, Beijing Enterprises FC find themselves 15th of 16th in the second tier.
Last Saturday (3 June) would prove to be Cheick Tiote’s final ever match and it was a 4-2 win over Baoding Yingli which lifted the former Newcastle player’s new team off the bottom of the table – now with 10 points out of a possible 36.
Whilst injury and indifferent form had meant limited football in his final few years at Newcastle, Tiote was back out there playing regular football.
Very hard to take in that somebody so young has been taken from us.