Christian Benítez, the former Birmingham City striker, has died aged 27.

The news has been confirmed by the Ecuadorean's club El Jaish Sports Club in Qatar.

A statement read:

"The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.

"Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday's match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.

"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."

Benítez, who scored four goals in 36 games for Birmingham, spent one season on loan at St Andrew's during the club's successful 2009-10 Barclays Premier League campaign.

christian benitez

Benítez celebrates scoring a goal for América in May


However he returned to Santos Laguna in 2010 after the Blues opted against a permanent deal to sign him.

Benítez won 58 caps for Ecuador and played at the 2006 World Cup.

"Chucho" only joined El Jaish on 6 July.