Former Birmingham striker Christian Benitez has died at the age of 27, his club in Qatar have confirmed.
The Ecuadorean international, who played for Birmingham on-loan in 2009/10, had just signed for Qatari club El Jaish last month for a fee of £10m.
The club confirmed that he died in an official statement.
It 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.”
Although the club did not confirm the cause of death, it is believed the player suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest after he played in his club’s match against Qatar SC.
Nicknamed ‘Chucho’, he was capped 58 times by his country, scoring 24 goals and he stands as the third highest scorer in Ecuador’s history. So SAD