Tributes from the football world have poured in following the shocking death of former Birmingham FC striker Christian Benitez.
The 27-year-old Ecuador international passed away on July 29, 2013 reportedly from respiratory complications.
Read the tributes below…
‘Extremely sad and shocked by the death of Chucho Benítez, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends… #animoEcuador’ – Manchester United and Mexico striker Javier Hernandez (@CH14)
‘Can’t believe the news I’ve just heard about my former team mate chucho (Christian Benitez) such sad news. R.I.P’ – Midfielder Gary McSheffrey, who played with Benitez at Birmingham (@sheebagee)
‘Shocked to hear Christian Benitez has passed away. #RIP’- Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta)
‘Tragic news about Christian Benitez, terrible to see a player pass away at such a young age & at the peak of his career! #RIP’ – Former Manchester City chairman Francis Lee (@FrannyLee)
‘Such sad news about Christian Benitez RIP x’ – Former Birmingham player, now pundit Robbie Savage (@RobbieSavage8)
‘News of Chucho Benitez’s death shook everyone. My sympathies to his family and all of Ecuador.’- Manchester City and Argentina forward Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun)
‘RIP Christian Benitez, sad to hear the terrible news. I remember he had outstanding ability, was very quick and was a bit of a free spirit. He had a big personality and he burst on to the scene when he came on at Old Trafford and caused lots of problems. His ability and goalscoring ability was there to see. It is devastating news for his family and I’m sure Birmingham City will want to pay their respects as well.’ – Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5)
‘He was a popular player in the changing room, he got a grasp of the Brummie accent quite quickly and he was popular with everyone. It is sad to lose anyone like this.’- Benitez’s former Birmingham team-mate Lee Carsley
‘RIP Christian ‘Chucho’ Benitez. Forever in our hearts. The thoughts of all at Birmingham City Football Club are with the friends and family of Chucho following this very sad news.’ – Birmingham City FC (@BcfcDotCom)
‘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.’- Another of Benitez’s former team-mates, Craig Gardner (@CraigGards8)
‘The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player. 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.’ – Benitez’s most recent club, Al Jaish of Qatar