QUITO (AFP) - Ecuador striker Christian Benitez has died suddenly in Qatar at the age of 27, his agent Jose Chamorro said on Monday.
Speaking to Ecuadorian Gama TV, Chamorro claimed Benitez, known as "Chucho", had suffered a heart attack.
He had complained of abdominal pains and was transferred to a hospital, where he died on Monday, Chamorro said.
Benitez, who was top scorer in the Mexican league last season with Club America, had just signed for Qatari outfit El-Jaish and had travelled to the club to undergo a medical check-up before completing his move.
Ecuador's Interior Minister Jose Serrano took to Twitter to pay tribute to the player, who also turned out for English side Birmingham City for one season in 2009-2010.
"Dear Chucho thank you for your goals and your happiness," said the minister.
"A hug to your family and especially to your father."
Benitez was considered a key part of Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda's Ecuador team that is hoping to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil, sitting third in the South American qualifying group.