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Ecuadorean soccer star Christian 'Chucho' Benitez dies at 27

July 29, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Former Ecuadorean international and Mexican league soccer star Christian Benitez died Monday morning in Qatar.
Former Ecuadorean international and Mexican league soccer star Christian… (Christian Palma / Associated…)

Former Ecuadorean international and Mexican league soccer star Christian "Chucho" Benitez died Monday morning in Qatar after going into cardiorespiratory arrest.

The 27-year-old, who signed with Qatari club Al Jaish less than a month ago, died in a hospital after being admitted with a severe stomach ache. Hours earlier he had made his Al Jaish debut in the Sheikh Jassem Cup.

According to the player's father-in-law, the stomach pains were the result of complications relating to appendicitis. The disease then became peritonitis before leading to respiratory arrest.

Benítez, who played for Ecuador in the 2006 World Cup, came to Al Jaish from Mexico's Club America earlier this month. He had also played with Ecuadorean club El Nacional, Mexico's Santos Laguna and Birmingham of the English Premier League, scoring 140 goals in 303 club matches on three continents.

He was also the third-leading scorer in the history of the Ecuadorean national team with 24 goals in 58 caps.

"The Ecuadoran Football Federation extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family – parents, wife, children – and friends of our striker Christian Benítez," the EFF said in a statement. "May he rest in peace."

A tweet from Club America read: "You left as a champion, you will always be in our hearts. Rest in Peace Christian Benítez" while Birmingham said it would mark Benitez's death before its game Saturday against Watford.

Born in Quito, Benitez was the son of former Ecuadorean international Ermen Benitez.

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