Wife of Christian Atsu speaks of heartache six months after the footballer’s death

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Marie-Claire Rupio said she hopes her husband’s name “will never go away”.

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The wife of a former Newcastle United player who tragically died during an earthquake in Hatay earlier this year has spoken six months after his death.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Christian Atsu’s wife Marie-Clarie Rupio said that she hopes “his name will never go away”.

She said in the interview, which is her first with the media since his passing: "For me, it’s very important that his name is still there, especially for the children, that he was known, that he was loved by everybody.”

The couple who got married in 2012, had three children together, who were aged nine, six, and three at the time of their father’s death.

The devastating earthquake claimed the lives of over 50,000, including Atsu, who was found two weeks later.

Rupio told the BBC: “I didn’t believe that it could happen in a place [where] he would be. As a human being, you think this can’t happen to you or anybody you love.

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She continued: “I was like ‘he’s fine and he will call’. But then after a while his sister called and told me that his building had totally collapsed. I was shocked, it was hard to believe.

“Our children heard from their school that he has been found and then they came home and heard on the radio again that he hasn’t been found. It wasn’t nice, but I told them he might be found because you still want to believe [in] the positive outcome.”

Once Rupio was informed of her husband’s death, she explained that her body “shut down”, as she was in such a state of shock.

Rupio said: "The next morning the children had football and I didn’t want to take that from them. After [that] I had to sit them down and explain it to them.

"It’s not easy. It’s not something you would wish on anybody."

Christian Atsu made 121 appearances for Newcastle United between 2016 and 2021.

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