Ivorian international and former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote slumped to death during a training session of Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises, a club he joined in February.
The 30-year-old midfielder was part of the Ivorian squad that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
A defensive midfielder, Tiote would be remembered in English Premiership for the memorable goal he scored for Newcastle in 2011 against Arsenal when The Magpies came back from 4-0 down to draw level with the Gunner.
Figures across the football world have taken to twitter to pay tributes to the deceased.
“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 manager Rafa Benitez said.
Ex-Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper posted: “Gutted to hear the awful news about my former teammate Cheick Tiote today. Thoughts with his friends and family.”
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who played with Tiote at Anderlecht, tweeted: “I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tioté was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in peace brother.”
Papiss Cisse, who played with Tiote from 2012-2014 at Newcastle, tweeted: “Goodnight brother, You will be missed. My heart goes out to his family. Gone too soon.”