Ghanaians gathered outside the country’s parliament building in Accra on Friday for the state funeral of winger Christian Atsu, who died during the earthquake in southern Turkey last month.
Atsu had gone missing after the Feb. 6 earthquake following the collapse of an apartment building in Hatay. His body was later found under the rubble and flown back to Ghana. He was 31.
Mourners silently filed past Atsu’s coffin, which arrived draped in Ghana’s national flag. Family, fans and beneficiaries of his charitable donations remembered him as a philanthropist.
“He’s even more than a football player,” Fedna Asare, a family friend, said. “His name will forever be in our hearts because he has helped a lot of people.”
Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake but the Ghanaian had opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Feb. 5 Super Lig match.
The disaster killed more than 54,000 people in Turkey and Syria.