Benitez dies following heart attack

Ecuador international Christian Benitez has died at the age of 27 after suffering a heart attack.

The former Santos Laguna forward made his debut for Qatar Stars League outfit El Jaish on Sunday, featuring in their 2-0 victory over Qatar SC in the Sheikh Jassem Cup.

But, after being rushed to hospital suffering from severe stomach pain on Monday, he suffered a cardiac arrest which ultimately ended his life.

A statement from the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) read: "The FEF extends its heartfelt sympathies to the family, parents, wife, children and friends of Christian Benitez."

Benitez's international team-mate, Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, took to Twitter in the aftermath of the news breaking to express disbelief.

Attaching a picture of the striker to his tweet, he wrote: "Brother why now. God is with you and your family."

Benitez began his career with El Nacional in his native Ecuador, before enjoying a spell in Mexico with Santos Laguna and a season-long stint in the Premier League with Birmingham City.

He scored 24 goals in 58 appearances for his country during a distinguished international career.