(CNN)The body of Ghana soccer star Christian Atsu arrived in Accra, Ghana on Sunday evening after it was flown from Turkey, Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFA) said.
"The mortal remains of the former Ghana Black Stars player, the late Christian Atsu, whose demise occurred during the recent earthquake in Türkiye was received by the Family, Government officials, and the Ghana Football Association at a solemn ceremony at the Kotoka International Airport, today Sunday, 19th February 2023" Ghana's MFA tweeted Sunday.
"The remains was accompanied by his family and Ghana's Ambassador to Türkiye, H.E. Francisca onboard a Turkish airlines flight," Ghana's MFA added.
Ghana's Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and a large military procession met the coffin on arrival in Accra.
"Atsu played for the Black Stars, and he was much loved, and we will sorely miss him," Bawumia said.
"I would like to extend my condolences to the Ghana Supporters Union, and to all Ghanaians, for this loss. It is a painful loss, a very painful one," added Bawumia.
"We hoped against hope, every day that passed, we prayed and prayed. But alas, when he was found, he was no more," he said.
Atsu went missing after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, and in the immediate aftermath, there was confusion as reports from Turkey and his agent had originally said that Atsu had been located and was in a hospital, but it eventually came to light, contrary to reports, that Atsu remained unaccounted for.
Atsu had been playing for Hatayspor in Turkey's Süper Lig and prior to that, he had represented Premier League sides Everton and Newcastle.
The winger was part of Ghana's national team that played in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, while he also represented the Black Stars at the Brazil World Cup in 2014.