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Ex Birmingham City striker Christian Benitez dies, club to mark his passing


Causes of death are, at time of reporting, unknown.

Christian Benitez, affectionately known as Chucho, has died at 27. 

Formerly of El Nacional, Santos Laguna and Club America, Benitez transferred to El Jaish earlier this summer but made his first appearance yesterday, Sunday. The Ecuadorian, who returned 24 goals from 58 international appearances, featured for Birmingham City between 2009 and 2010 during a season-long loan spell.

El Jaish offered an official statement on their website: 'The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player. Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday's match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.

'His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff. He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character.'

Birmingham City will honour the player. The club's official Twitter feed mentioned that Chucho would forever be in their hearts. It added: 'The club will be looking to mark the passing of Chucho at St. Andrew's ahead of this Saturday's fixture against Watford.'

Benitez's career high would have been his 2006 appearances at the World Cup, in Germany. He won titles in Ecuardo and Mexico.

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