Former Club America striker Christian Benitez dies at age 27

The South American forward, who had enjoyed spells at Birmingham, Santos Laguna and Club America, was confirmed as having passed away on Monday.
Ecuador international Christian Benitez passed away on Monday at the age of 27, his club El Jaish has confirmed.

The striker, nicknamed Chucho, had recently completed a move to the Qatari outfit from Club America but he has passed away before making his debut, though there are conflicting reports as to how he died.

"The club sends its condolences to Ecuadorean Christian Benitez, a professional footballer who died this morning," El Jaish wrote on its official Twitter account.

Ecuadorian teammate Antonio Valencia of Manchester United expressed his condolences having been informed of Benitez's death.

"You'll always be my brother. This pain is hard, my brother, but we love you," the winger, who also played alongside the 27-year-old at El Nacional, posted on Twitter.

Cleber Chala, another former teammate of Benitez's at El Nacional, tweeted: "You will live in our hearts forever, Chucho."

The former Santos Laguna and Birmingham City forward appeared 58 times for Ecuador during his career, scoring 24 goals.