Former Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote has died after collapsing following training in China.
The Ivory Coast international's spokesman said in a statement on Monday that the 30-year-old hardman died following a training session with Chinese second-tier side Beijing
Emanuele Palladino said: "It is with deep sadness that I confirm that my client Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises."
Tiote joined Newcastle United in August 2010 for £3.5m from Dutch side FC Twente and quickly established himself as a forceful Premier League midfielder.
He was a mainstay of the Magpies' side which narrowly failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season although his combative style earned him a string of yellow and
occasional red cards.
He is perhaps best remembered on Tyneside for his late equaliser against Arsenal in February 2011 as Alan Pardew's side fought back from 4-0 down at the interval to draw 4-4.
Injury and loss of form blighted his final three seasons at Newcastle and he eventually moved to China on what was believed to be a free transfer earlier this year.
His agent continued: "We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family's privacy be respected at this difficult time.
"We ask for all your prayers."
Former Newcastle team-mates paid tribute on Twitter with former Magpies goalkeeper Steve Harper writing: "Gutted to hear the awful news about my former teammate Cheick Tiote today.
Thoughts with his friends and family."
Ex-winger Jonas Gutierrez added on Twitter: "Sad news. Always going to be remember our time together at #nufc RIP my friend."
Tiote earned 52 caps for Ivory Coast, playing at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while also helping his country to the African Nations Cup final in 2012, where they lost to Zambia.
He also played for Anderlecht in Belgium and Roda JC in Holland and had made 17 appearances for Beijing Enterprises before his death.