Christian Benitez, American Striker Dies Suddenly at 27


The Ecuador international had moved in this month from the Mexican after previous association with clubs such as Birmingham, El Nacional and Santos Laguna.

He played regularly for his country and was part of the Ecuador squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. The El Jaish statement that has confirmed his passing could not give a cause of death. It read: "The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.

Benitez was moved to his club from Club America where he played for three seasons. The player last participated with the team for the first time in yesterday’s match versus Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup. He did not have any complain regarding health issues.

"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."

The tributes poured in quickly with Ecuador team-mate and Manchester United winger, Antonio Valencia tweeting the pair’s picture. Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner, said, "Can't believe Christian Benitez aka chucho has died had the pleasure to play with him he was a top bloke. My thoughts go out to his family." Gardner played with Benitez while they were at Birmingham.

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