The body of former Ivory Coast defender Steve Gohouri has been recovered from the River Rhine after he went missing in mid- December, German regional league club TSV Steinbach said on Saturday.
Gohouri, 34, played in the Premier League with Wigan Athletic between 2010 and 2012 after joining from Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach.
TSV said on their website that the player’s death had been confirmed by Duesseldorf police who found the body near the city of Krefeld.
Former teammate and Wigan manager Gary Caldwell, whose side now play in the third tier of English football, expressed his sadness.
“I heard the fans singing his name and we heard about the news in the dressing room,” he said after a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United.
“For somebody so young to lose their life is very sad, it’s tragic to find out about a former teammate passing away.”
Former Ivory Coast and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba also paid tribute to Gohouri.
“So sad about this news…lost one of my soldiers, Ivory Coast lost one of its most loyal sons. My thoughts go to the family. RIP bro,” said Montreal Impact player Drogba on his Twitter account.
DÃ¼sseldorf police confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Gohouri’s death.
A statement read: ‘On December 31 2015, the corpse of initially an unknown man was found in the Rhine near Krefeld. In the meantime, the dead man could be identified as the 34-year-old who had been reported missing on 12 December. An autopsy showed no evidence of violence by third parties.’
Gohouri, a defender who played for the Ivory Coast between 2006 and 2009, scored two goals in 42 games for Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach between 2007 and 2009, helping the side to Bundesliga promotion in 2008. He also played for Wigan and the Swiss side Young Boys.
‘This is terrible news,’ MÃ¶nchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl said.
‘I got to know Steve as a person full of the joys of life and that’s how I’ll remember him. Our thoughts and sympathies are now with his family.’
The defender, a member of the Ivory Coast 2010 World Cup squad, joined Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 2012, and also had a spell at Skoda Xanthi in Greece before looking to finish his playing career in Germany.
Wigan posted a message of condolence on the club’s Twitter feed, which read: ‘We are saddened to hear reports of our former defender Steve Gohouri passing away. Our thoughts are with his family.’
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