Cheick Tiote 'lit up a room when he smiled'

Cheick Tiote 'lit up a room when he smiled'

Cheick Tiote's former Newcastle team-mates paid emotional tributes to the midfielder following his death at the age of 30.

The Ivory Coast international died after collapsing following a training session in China with his team Beijing Enterprises. He joined the second-tier side in February after six and a half years on Tyneside.

Magpies players past and present led the moving tributes to the tough-tackling midfielder, describing him as a "warrior" who loved life, with heartfelt messages also coming in from Premier League clubs and players.

Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul said on Twitter: "Deeply sad to hear the news about Cheick.. One of my favourite teammates.. My thoughts are with his family."

Another Magpies keeper Rob Elliot said simply: "Rip chieky-man... you absolute warrior."

Joey Barton, who played alongside Tiote for one season at St James' Park, remembered the Ivorian as a "wonderful man".

He tweeted: "Devastated to hear of Cheik Tiote's death. A wonderful man, who was always laughing or smiling. My heart goes out to his family and friends."

Papiss Cisse, who left St James' Park for China last year, said: "Goodnight brother, You will be missed. My heart goes out to his family. Gone too soon #RIPcheiktiote."

Steve McClaren, who managed Tiote at Newcastle and his previous club FC Twente, said he was a "ferocious competitor" who possessed "the most beautiful smile in football".

"He was the toughest player I have ever seen," the former England boss said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Some days we would have to pull him out of training because he was such a ferocious competitor, such a winner.

"He was a warrior and could play too."

Newcastle great Peter Beardsley, still on the staff at the club, has similar memories.

"Cheick was one of the best we had in terms of his attitude," he said on Radio 5 Live.

"He had a wicked sense of humour, he was top class and he will certainly be missed in this city.

"He was flat out every day in training and was a brilliant example to the kids at our club. He loved a tackle. He wasn't horrible, but very aggressive. Every time he saw the ball he went for it.

"He was also really funny in the dressing room. He had a brilliant smile and he lit up a room when he smiled. He was fantastic."

Newcastle's current captain Jamaal Lascelles said the news of Tiote's death had devastated the team.

He said on Twitter: "There are not words to express how saddened I am to hear the news that Cheick has died this afternoon . I have spoken to the team and non of us can believe it, my thoughts are with his family at this time. RIP Cheicky."

Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez added: "I can't belive it. No words. I am broken. RIP Cheick."

Andros Townsend, who played alongside Tiote last season, described him as "genuinely one of the nicest/funniest guys I've ever met".

Former Magpies keeper Shay Given said: "Shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of Cheick Tiote, I pass on my condolences to his friends & family, way too young #ripcheickTiote."

Another ex-Magpies stopper, Steve Harper, tweeted: "Gutted to hear the awful news about my former teammate Cheik Tiote today. Thoughts with his friends and family."

Alan Shearer said on Twitter that Tiote's death was "devastating news", while another former striker, Gary Lineker, tweeted: "Dreadful news that Cheick Tiote has passed away. So young. So tragic."

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, a former team-mate of Tiote's at Belgian side Anderlecht when both players were starting their careers, tweeted: "I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tiote was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in peace brother."

Tiote's international team-mate Wilfried Bony said on Twitter: "DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO CHEICK TIOTE AND HIS FAMILY TAKEN TOO SOON."

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand added: "Shocked to hear the news that former @NUFC midfielder Cheick Tiote has passed away.. thoughts & prayers with his family & friends!"

Premier League clubs also offered their condolences, including Newcastle's great rivals Sunderland, who said on Twitter: "Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Cheick Tiote and our colleagues at #NUFC Such sad news."

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