ATALANTA youngster Willy Ta Bi has tragically died aged 21 after a long battle with liver cancer.
The Serie A side confirmed the devastating news of the Ivory Coast youth international’s passing on Tuesday.
Atalanta ace Willy Ta Bi sadly passed away from cancerCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Manchester United’s January signing Amad Diallo paid tribute to his old team-mateCredit: Rex Features
On social media, they wrote: “We mourn the premature passing of our player and Under-19 Champion of Italy Willi Braciano Ta Bi and share the grief of his family and beloved ones.
“Rest in peace, Willy.”
Manchester United’s £37million signing Amad Diallo played with the defensive midfielder in the Italian side’s academy and paid tribute to his friend.
On Instagram, he wrote: “Rest in peace, Willy Braciano Ta Bi. Forever in our hearts.”
And the 18-year-old winger shared a picture of the two together with the caption: “Now sleep in peace, friend.”
Ta Bi joined Atalanta from Asec Mimosa in his homeland in 2019 and immediately tasted success by helping the team to the youth Primavera title.
He captained his country at youth level and represented them at the Francophone Games in 2017.
His last competitive match was on June 14, 2019 – shortly before his cancer diagnosis.
La Côte d’Ivoire, le monde du football te pleurent, tu t’es battu contre cette fichue maladie comme tu te battais sur les terrains comme un vrai patron, un leader!!!!Reposes en Paix mon CAPITAINE 🧡🤍💚💔😭🙏🏾Mes condoléances à toute sa famille 🙏🏾 https://t.co/5FKWz8y3Ob
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) February 23, 2021
Chelsea legend and former Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba shared a public tribute on Twitter.
Drogba wrote: “Ivory Coast, the football world are mourning you, you fought against this damn disease as you fought on the pitches like a real boss, a leader!!!!”
Juventus midfielder Dejan Kulusevski was part of the trophy-winning Atalanta youth team alongside Ta Bi and said: “Rest in peace, brother.”
In a statement, Atalanta added: “President Antonio Precassi and the whole Atalanta family are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Willy Braciano Ta Bi.
“A cruel destiny interrupted a dream that began with the Nerazzurri shirt in January 2019 too soon.
“He only needed a few months to earn a leading role in the Primavera and help bring the Scudetto back to Bergamo, but above all to leave a great memory.”
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