An official medical report has concluded that Christian “Chucho” Benitez, a 27-year-old Ecuadorian football player who was rushed to the hospital on Monday, died of sudden heart failure, his team has said.
El Jaish did not provide any more details about the results of the report, though media speculation has been rife because he died hours after his debut with the team, while playing in the summer heat.
Despite knowing the official cause of death, questions remain, as the striker was given a clean bill of health by Aspetar before signing a three-year, $15.4 million contract with the club earlier this month.
“When a football player is signed, they always do tests, and he passed,” father Ermen Benitez, himself a former football star in Ecuador, told CNN.
Early Monday morning, shortly after participating in his first football match in Qatar, Benitez reported to Ahli Hospital with severe stomach pains.
According to his father-in-law, the footballer was diagnosed with appendicitis, which developed into peritonitis and complications that led to a cardio-respiratory arrest.
Benitez leaves behind his wife and twin children. In a statement, El Jaish said that his body and the family will be flown home to Ecuador tonight, along with the Ecuadorian national team doctor who is currently in Doha. It added:
Since Ecuadorian star passed away on Monday morning in a sudden way, sadness and sorrow prevailed all over the club after hearing the sad news especially that Benitez has joined Eljaish team for few days only.
El Jaish Sports Club management assures again its endless support to Christian’s family and standing by their side during this hard time.
Meanwhile, football fans in Qatar and across the world have been mourning Benitez, who was the top scorer in the Mexican league last season.
UPDATE | Aug. 1, 2013 9:28am
Benitez’s body remains in Qatar due to “flight delays:”
— Eljaish Sports Club (@EljaishSC)
Credit: Image courtesy of El Jaish on Twitter