For the rest of his career, Tiote was known as an effective central midfielder on a club that otherwise struggled. He played just one game after Newcastle was relegated to the League Championship in 2016 and moved to China to play in the second division, where he played 17 games for Beijing Enterprises before his death.
Tiote was a player with considerable skill and vision. He grew up playing barefoot in the streets of his hometown of Yamoussoukro and said he never owned a pair of soccer shoes until he was 15.
He was 19 when he moved to Belgium's Anderlecht and also played for Roda JC and FC Twente in the Netherlands before moving to Newcastle in 2011. He won the Dutch Eredivisie in 2010, promoting interest in the EPL.
Tiote started every game for Ivory Coast at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and played two games when the Elephants won the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
Beijing Enterprises issued the following statement after Tiote's death:
"At approximately 6 p.m. of June 5, 2017, when the team was having their regular training session, our foreign player from Ivory Coast, Mr. Cheik Tiote, fainted without any warning. The club sent him to hospital immediately. However, all revival measures proved ineffective. Mr. Tiote passed away at approximate 7 p.m. The club has already contacted his family.
"Since joining Beijing BG football club on Feb. 5, 2017, Mr. Cheik Tiote has contributed to the club significantly. His football skills and professionalism have been much appreciated and highly praised by the club, the coaches and his teammates. Hereby, Beijing BG football club expresses our deepest sorrow following Mr. Tiote's passing."
Tributes came pouring in from teammates at Newcastle, on the Ivory Coast national team and elsewhere. Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and Tiote had played together at Anderlecht early in their careers.
I am speechless and so incredibly sad. Cheick Tioté was one of the nicest and toughest teammates I have ever had. Rest in peace brother.— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) June 5, 2017
Alan Pardew, who managed Tiote at Newcastle, said he was "devastated" by the news of the Ivorian's passing.
“From the moment I arrived at Newcastle," he said, "Cheick was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances on the field often defied belief. There were days when he must have covered every blade of grass on a football field and it didn’t surprise me that clubs like Manchester United were being links with attempts to sign him."