DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Ecuador striker Christian "Chucho" Benitez died of heart failure, Qatari club El Jaish said Wednesday, without adding further details.
The 27-year-old striker died Monday, a day after playing his first match for his new club. His body was due to be flown back to Ecuador just after midnight Thursday, but the flight was delayed until noon.
"The official medical reports were issued by official state entities and stated that the sudden death was caused by heart failure," the club said in a statement. The club added that his body will be repatriated on a private plane.
On Tuesday, Ecuador soccer federation president Luis Chiriboga said Benitez had been taken to the hospital with sharp stomach pains, developed peritonitis and died of cardiorespiratory arrest.
Relatives of Benitez including his wife, Liseth Chala, and several players and team officials gathered Wednesday at the Doha airport to await the arrival of his casket. But soon after an ambulance with the casket pulled up, the family was told the flight didn't have all the necessary approvals and would go in the morning.
As they waited, the team presented Chala with a signed jersey from all the players and bearing the nickname Chucho on the back.
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