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Body of football star Benitez arrives back in his native Ecuador

updated 9:07 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
The coffin of Ecuador international Christian Benitez arrives at Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito. The coffin of Ecuador international Christian Benitez arrives at Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito.
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Hero returns
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Body of Christian Benitez arrives in Quito ahead of funeral
  • Ecuador international Benitez died after playing a match in Qatar on July 29
  • His Qatari club said he had suffered heart failure
  • Funeral scheduled for Friday in Quito

(CNN) -- The body of football star Christian Benitez arrived in his native Ecuador Friday ahead of his funeral and other tributes in the capital Quito later in the day.

The coffin was accompanied on the flight from Doha in Qatar by his wife Liseth Chala and other grieving relatives.

The 27-year-old Ecuadorian international striker died Monday after playing his first match for Qatari league side El Jaish, coming on as a second half substitute.

Read: 'Heart failure' caused death of Ecuador football ace

Football player Christian Benitez dies

The club said Wednesday that Benitez had died of heart failure after developing peritonitis.

Benitez's agent said he had complained of abdominal pains before being taken to hospital.

The striker scored 24 goals in 54 games for Ecuador, playing in the 2006 World Cup as a youngster.

He had scored four goals in Ecuador's qualifying campaign for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Read: Death of Benitez leaves family, friends reeling

His club career saw Benitez ply his trade in Mexico, in the English Premier League with Birmingham, before heading to Qatar.

El Jaish played their first match since his death Thursday, with a minute's silence observed before taking on Al Shahaniya in a pre-season tournament.

His teammates held up a banner with is picture and the words "Christian Benitez We Will Miss You" before playing out a 4-4 draw.

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