Ghana awarded state funeral honours to former Black Stars and Chelsea footballers in a ceremony honouring Christian Atsu, who perished in the earthquake that struck Turkey last month conducted by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

PHOTO | COURTESY Ghana gives late football star Christian Atsu a state funeral honour

With pleas to preserve the legacy of the player who "gave his life to humanity," tributes were given to him after the former Newcastle winger was buried in a coffin and decorated in Ghana's national colours of red, yellow, green, and black.

Atsu's widow Marie-Claire Rupio sobbed while reading a tribute at the state-sponsored funeral conducted on Accra's State House courtyard, claiming that he left with a part of her.

"You weren't traveling alone because I was part of your group. Despite the fact that I cannot see you, your love still serves as my compass "stated Rupio.

"You appeared to be eternal. I recognize you in our kids' smiles because of your love and grin."

PHOTO | COURTESY Late football star Christian Atsu buried in Ghana

The homage included traditional performers, and former teammates donned black shirts with pictures of Atsu on the front. Fans in tears waited in line to view his casket beneath a white marquee tent.

Following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing more than 50,000 people in both countries, the 31-year-old footballer was found dead on February 18.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries like Ghana's vice president Mahamudu Bawumia, the country's former leader John Mahama, representatives of Atsu's former Turkish club Hatayspor, the Ghana FA, and members of the general public.

PHOTO | COURTESY Atsu died as a result of the earthquake

On the southeast coast of Ghana, in the town of Ada, he will be laid to rest.

Beyond the pitch, Atsu was recognized and adored for his charitable endeavours, which included providing scholarships to underprivileged youngsters in Ghana and freeing convicts by paying fines.

Before joining Everton FC, Atsu played for Cheetah FC, Rio Ave, FC Porto, AFC Bournemouth, and Malaga CF. In 2015, he participated in the Africa Cup of Nations. In Equatorial Guinea, he was awarded the best player of the competition and made 65 appearances for Ghana.

Atsu also travelled with the Ghanaian team to Brazil in 2014 for the FIFA World Cup. Atsu leaves behind his wife and three kids.