Ecuadorian international tragically passes away.
Former Birmingham City striker Christian Benitez has passed away at the age of 27, the Mirror reports.
Also affectionately known as Chucho, he had recently joined Qatari side El Jaish after stories linking him with a move back to the Premier League this summer failed to materialise.
The striker spent the 2009-10 season on loan at Birmingham City, where he bagged just four goals in 36 appearances across all competitions. He returned to Mexico with Santos Laguna after his stint at St Andrews, but quickly earned a move to Club America where he got back to scoring regularly.
Earlier this summer he completed a £10 million move to Qatar and made his debut for El Jaish last night, but was admitted to hospital shortly after with stomach pains.
He was diagnosed with appendicitis, but – according to his father-in-law Cleber Chala who spoke on Ecuadorian radio – this developed into peritonitis and complications led to a respiratory arrest.
“They called me at 3am to tell me that they had taken him to hospital as an emergency due to stomach pains.
“When he arrived, he was not seen to quickly.
“By the time he was admitted he was no longer responding. This happened in Qatar, my daughter is alone there.
A statement on the El Jaish official website read; “The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.
“Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday’s match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.
“His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff. He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character.”