Chucho Benítez, an international soccer star from Ecuador who had just signed a contract with Qatari club Al Jaish, died suddenly this morning from cardiac arrest.
He was 27 years old.
Benítez was admitted to a local hospital with severe stomach pain mere hours after making his debut against Qatar Sports Club. The Ecuador Football Federation confirms he passed away shortly afterward, saying in a statement:
"The Ecuadorian Football Federation extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family – parents, wife, children – and friends of our striker Christian Benítez. May he rest in peace."
The striker was a regular for his country and made the Ecuador national squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
A statement from Al Jaish reads:
"The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player. Benítez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday's match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.
"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."