Doha, Qatar – Qatari club El Jaish said on Monday that Ecuador international striker Christian Benitez has passed away at the age of 27 amid conflicting reports from the media over the cause of his death.
Some reports said that Benitez died in a car crash, while others claimed that he suffered a heart attack following a training session.
Benitez joined El Jaish in Qatar after completing a move from Club America in Mexico just three weeks ago.
A member of Ecuador's 2006 World Cup team, Benitez went on to represent his country 58 times in international play, scoring 24 goals.
After starting his career in Ecuador with El Nacional, Benitez moved to Santos in Mexico before spending the 2009-10 season on loan with English Premiership side Birmingham City.
He netted four goals in 36 appearances in the English top flight and secured a return to Mexico with America in 2011.
"The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player," read a statement from El Jaish.
"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."