The Ivory Coast international joined Chinese Super League side Beijing Enterprises in January having spent seven years at St James’s Park. The 30-year-old was reported to have collapsed at the training ground on Monday and taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I can confirm that my client Cheick Tioté sadly passed away today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises,” said his agent Emanuele Palladino in a statement. “We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family’s privacy be respected at this difficult time. We ask for all your prayers.”
A statement from Beijing Enterprises added: “On 18 June during a training session, Cote D’Ivoire international Cheick Tioté suddenly fainted. The club rushed him to hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7 o’clock local time. The club has been in contact with its family.”
It is understood that Tioté has been living in China on his own since leaving the north-east in January and his wife Madah is expecting their third child this week. Former Newcastle team-mate Demba Ba, who had a spell in China but now plays for Turkish side Besiktas was among the first to offer his condolences. “May Allah gives grant you jannah brother Tiote,” he tweeted.
😭😭😭 may Allah gives grant you jannah brother Tiote 😭😭😭
— Demba Ba (@dembabafoot) June 5, 2017
Newcastle manager Rafa Benítez added: “It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick’s death. In the 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.”
Tioté began his career in his homeland with FC Bibo before moving to Anderlecht as a teenager. He also played under Steve McClaren at FC Twente in the Netherlands before joining Newcastle in 2010 for £3.5m, going on to make almost 150 appearances.
Tioté also won 52 caps for Ivory Coast and played in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.