The news first broke out of China yesterday afternoon, where the former Newcastle star is playing for Chiense second-tier side Beijing Enterprises, that he had been taken ill after training.
It appears he was subsequently rushed to hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead.
His former club Newcastle released a short statement following confirmation of Tiote’s death: “We are devastated to have learnt of the tragic passing of former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote in China today.”
And a spokesman for the player, Emanuele Palladino, said: “It is with deep sadness that I confirm that my client Cheick Tiote sadly passed away earlier today after collapsing in training with his club Beijing Enterprises.
“We cannot say any more at the moment and we request that his family’s privacy be respected at this difficult time. We ask for all your prayers.”
Current Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said: “It is with great sadness that I have this afternoon learned of Cheick’s death.
“In the all the time that I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man.
“Our hearts go out to his family and friends at such a sad time.”
Club captain Jamaal Lascelles said: “There are not words to express how saddened I am to hear the news that Cheick has died this afternoon.
“I have spoken to the team and non of us can believe it, my thoughts are with his family at this time. RIP Cheicky”
Anderlecht, who first signed Tiote from Ivorian side FC Bibo, wrote: “Another young man taken way too soon… #RIP Cheik Tiote Our thoughts are with his family.”
Following his death, a tragic WhatsApp chat emerged where Tiote described himself as being “all good”.
Tiote appeared in high spirits as he swapped messages with his friend Yusuf Abubakar Tumi.
In it, he enquired about his pal’s health with the pair laughing together over Tiote’s demand for some free watches.
Hours later, it was announced the Beijing Enterprises midfielder had died after he collapsed in training.
The conversation was posted on Twitter by Tumi, who is a verified user.
Tumi starts the conversation saying after Tiote, who is saved in his phone as ‘Cheick T China’.
Tiote responds saying he is “good brother”, before asking after his friend.
Tumi then joked that he needed to get some watches off him to which Tiote responded: “U are the boss. U need to give for free.”
The tributes poured in for Cheick Tiote.
Gareth Bale, who lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday, tweeted his condolences to the player’s family.