Stephen Keshi: Nigeria Football Legend Dies Aged 54

Former Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi
Former Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi at Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba, Brazil, June 21, 2014. The 54-year-old passed away on Wednesday morning. Phil Walter/Getty

Stephen Keshi, the former Nigeria defender and coach, died aged 54 on Wednesday morning from a suspected heart attack.

Daily Post Nigeria, among other media outlets, reported that Keshi, one of only two Nigerians to win the Africa Cup of Nations as a coach and player, passed away in Benin, which shares an eastern border with Nigeria.

Keshi, who was succeeded by another Nigerian football legend, Sunday Oliseh, as national team coach following his sacking in July 2015, made 64 appearances for the Super Eagles as a defender, scoring nine goals.

A statement from a family spokesperson, Emmanuel Ado, read: "With thanksgiving to God, the Ogbuenyi Fredrick Keshi family of Illah in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, announces the death of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi.

"Our son, brother, father, father-in-law, brother-in-law, has gone to be with his wife of 35 years, Mrs. Kate Keshi, who passed on on December 9, 2015.

"Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back to Nigeria to be with her. He had planned to fly back today Wednesday, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest."

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also announced the news on its official Twitter account on Wednesday morning.

Former Nigeria Captain and Coach, Stephen Keshi, is dead. Reports say the legend died in the early hours of Wednesday, RIP Big Boss.

— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) June 8, 2016

Oliseh, 41, also offered his condolences on social media.

Horrible news & Sad day as Our legendary Captain & brother Stephen Keshi dies.May his blessed soul rest in peace.we lost an iconic Hero 2day

— Sunday Oliseh (@SundayOOliseh) June 8, 2016