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Cheick Tioté

Born:   June 21, 1986
Place of Birth:   Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
Death:  June 5, 2017
Place of Death:   Beijing, China
Zodiac Sign:  Gemini

Cheick Ismaël Tioté (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɛik ismaɛl tjote]) was an Ivorian footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.

Formed at FC Bibo in his hometown of Yamoussoukro, he made his professional debut in 2005 with Belgium's Anderlecht. In 2008, after a loan at Roda JC, he joined Dutch club FC Twente, winning the Eredivisie in his second season. After that, he signed for Newcastle United in England for a fee of £3.5 million. Tioté totalled 156 games for Newcastle over six-and-a-half seasons, scoring one goal. In February 2017, he joined Beijing Enterprises of the China League One, where he died in June in a training session, at the age of 30.

Tioté played 52 times for the Ivory Coast national football team from 2009 to 2015, scoring once. He represented the country at two FIFA World Cups and four Africa Cup of Nations, winning the 2015 edition of the latter.

On 5 June 2017, Tioté died in Beijing, China, after suffering a cardiac arrest in training. Demba Ba was amongst the first to pay tribute to the Ivorian via social media, and soon afterwards, many of his former Newcastle teammates followed suit. His former managers were similarly effusive with praise: Rafael Benítez labelled him "a true professional", Alan Pardew described him as "everything that you want in a Newcastle player", Steve McClaren (who had managed him at both Twente and Newcastle) remembered him as the toughest player he had ever seen, and Chris Hughton (who had brought him to Newcastle) spoke of his humility and called him "the perfect fit".

On 13 June, Tioté's memorial service was held in Beijing, which was attended by his Beijing Enterprises teammates and Papiss Cissé, who had played with him at Newcastle. On 15 June, his body was flown back to the Ivory Coast for a private funeral, amidst a dispute between his family and the Ivory Coast Football Federation over the location of his burial. He was given a military funeral in Abidjan on 18 June, attended by his national teammates and politicians including prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. Beijing Enterprises retired Tioté's number 24 shirt on 24 June. Source.

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