Shocking news on Monday afternoon that Cheick Tiote has died and his former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has responded to the news.

The United Manager saying ‘Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time’.

When Rafa Benitez took over in March 2013, Cheick Tiote played in seven of the ten Premier League games that ended in relegation.

However, this season he was limited to only 15 minutes in the Championship, a late sub in the 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

Only 30 years old, Sky Sportsthe BBC and The Mail are reporting that the former Newcastle midfielder collapsed and passed away during a training session with Beijing Enterprises FC.

The player only moving to China from Newcastle less than four months ago.

Terrible news and obviously all our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Rafa Benitez:

“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.”

Newcastle United Official Statement:

‘We are devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing of Cheick Tioté at the age of just 30.

The thoughts of everyone at Newcastle United are with Cheick’s family, friends, teammates and everyone connected with the clubs he represented.

The Ivory Coast midfielder, who made more than 150 appearances for the Magpies between 2010 and 2017, was training with his current club, Bejiing Enterprises, on Monday when he collapsed.

He was taken to hospital but sadly passed away.

Cheick cemented his place in Newcastle folklore with his dramatic equaliser in the 4-4 draw against Arsenal in February 2011.’