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Ecuador striker Benitez dies aged 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 age 27, his club El Jaish have confirmed.

The forward began suffering with severe stomach pain and was rushed to hospital in Qatar but suffered a deadly cardiac arrest.

The striker, nicknamed Chucho, had recently completed a move to the Doha-based outfit from Club America but he has passed away before making his debut.

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

Ecuadorian team-mate 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 team-mate of Benitez's at El Nacional, tweeted: "You will live in our hearts forever, Chucho."

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

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