Lagos, NIGERIA: Nigerian football icon Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi died suddenly in the early hours of Wednesday in Benin City, Edo state, according to Nigerian media reports.
Keshi, 54, was scheduled to return to the United States on Wednesday evening before he suffered cardiac arrest.
The former international football player and coach had lost his wife of 35 years, Kate, last year after a prolonged battle with cancer.
He became the first Nigerian coach to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and a coach when he led Nigeria to the 2013 AFCON success in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Keshi represented Nigeria from 1982, at age 20, till 1994, most of the time captaining the Super Eagles.
He was part of the Nigeria squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 the same year Nigeria reached No. 5 in the FIFA World Rankings, the highest-ever ranking for an African team.
The late Central Defender withdrew from the national team in 1994 with 64 caps and nine goals under his belt.
He also coached Togo and Nigeria at the World Cup, as well as Mali.