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OBITUARY: Christian 'Chucho' Benitez
July 30th, 2013 2:37AM



Christian "Chucho" Benitez, who won three scoring titles in the Mexican league and played for Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup, died at age 27 on Monday after making his debut for Qatar club El Jaish on Sunday.

Benitez was hospitalized with severe stomach pain hours after the Sheikh Jassem Cup and died shortly afterward. Early reports cited cardio-respiratory arrest.

"This morning we woke feeling profound pain, a pain that all Ecuadorans share, after losing an extraordinary human being, a son, friend, husband and player," Ecuadoran federation president Luis Chiriboga said in a statement.

The Quito native left El Nacional for Mexico’s Santos Laguna at age 21. He scored 17 goals in his first season and was named the best player in the 2008 Torneo Clausura as Santos, where he was teammates with U.S. defender Edgar Castillo, won the title.

After a second season at Santos, Benitez joined Birmingham City, then playing in the English Premier League, on loan, but eventually returned to Mexico when an agreement on a transfer fee could not be reached between Santos and Birmingham.

After his return to Mexico in 2010, he won one scoring title with Santos and two with Club America, with which he lifted the league championship last May.

  1. John Paz
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.
    I wonder if the heat of Qatar had anything to do with this. One can't help but wonder.
  1. Shane Watkins
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.
    I doubt that the games are played in Qatar at peek heat times, but it is 108 degrees there as we speak. I really wonder how many and how much FIFA officials got paid off to vote for a Qatar world cup. They are going to have to make some serious changes somehow to host a summer world cup in Qatar. All the games after the sun goes down? Such a sad story for such a promising young footballer.
  1. Joe Smith
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:28 p.m.
    Stomach pain (Nausea) is one of the symptoms of heat stroke!!!. Anybody playing above a 100degrees it is at very high risk for heat stroke or anything related, due to the physiology of the body, trying to compensate for such critical temperatures imposed in the human body, specifically the brain. Can anyone imaging yourself playing in a much higher temperature during the summer- Above 110 degrees?(I work in the healthcare field for the past 22 years.

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