Wilfried Bony was among the pallbearers as a coffin containing Cheick Tiote’s body returned back to his native Ivory Coast on Thursday afternoon.
Tiote’s body arrived at Port Bouet airport in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, after being flown from Beijing where he tragically passed away.
Manchester City forward Bony and other former team-mates of Tiote’s with the Ivory Coast national team carried the casket on their shoulders.
Cheick Tiote’s coffin is carried by his former Ivory Coast team-mates at Port Bouet airport
Bony wore a t-shirt paying tribute to the late midfielder as he attended the sombre occasion
Bony wore a t-shirt emblazoned with Tiote’s face – which read ‘an elephant never dies’ in reference to the Ivory Coast national team’s nickname.
Former Ivory Coast national team coach Herve Renard was also in attendance along with the president of the Ivorian Football Federation, Augustin Sidy Diallo.
Family members displayed their grief as Tiote’s coffin was carried through the airport, where fans also came to pay their respects.
Tiote’s casket is carried through arrivals at the Port Bouet airport, the largest in the Ivory Coast
Former Ivory Coast national team manager Herve Renard was also in attendance on Thursday.
Tiote suffered a suspected heart attack on June 5 during a training session with his club Beijing Enterprises and later passed away.
There was a memorial service for him held in Beijing on Tuesday which was attended by his ex-Newcastle team-mate Papiss Cisse, who plays in China with Shandong Luneng.
‘I lived some extraordinary moments with this man and today he’s gone,’ said Cisse at the service as he fought back tears.
A family member shows their grief at the service as mourners turned up to pay their respects
One fan painted himself in black and white and wore a hat with the message ‘farewell’
A mural featuring images of Tiote playing for the Ivory Coast was displayed at the airport
Beijing Enterprises players were also present at that service as they paid their respects to Tiote, who joined them from Newcastle in February.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that Beijing Enterprises had no emergency cardiac equipment at their training base which to treat him.
And Manchester United legend Andy Cole questioned whether more can be done to protect players who suffer from heart problems.
Tiote during a training session with Chinese second division side Beijing Enterprises
Papiss Cisse sheds a tear while attending Tiote’s memorial service in Beijing on Tuesday.
‘If someone is only 30 and they pass away, the question that is naturally going to be asked is ‘Why? What’s gone on there? Why has he passed away so early?’, Cole said to BBC Radio Five Live.
‘It’s a strange one. Cheick Tiote hadn’t been in China that long – a few months – so he must have had a medical to complete the transfer. Was nothing picked up in that medical?
‘Is anything actually being done? Is it being looked into? We need to nail it down and get to the bottom of why and what it is.
Bony and Tiote celebrate after winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast
‘Because it seems to be happening to more and more professional footballers – fit, strong men.’
Tiote spent seven years at Newcastle and is best remembered for scoring a stunning equaliser in the 4-4 draw against Arsenal in February 2011.
He also featured for Anderlecht, Twente and made 55 appearances for the Ivory Coast senior side, winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.