Ivorian youth international Willy Braciano Ta Bi has died aged 21 following a long illness, his former Italian club Atalanta announced on Tuesday.
Ta Bi, tipped as a rising star destined for the Ivory Coast national side, passed away in his native country after battling liver cancer.
“The whole Atalanta family are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Willy Braciano Ta Bi,” the Bergamo club said.
“A cruel fate prematurely interrupted a dream that had begun with the ‘Nerazzurri’ shirt in January 2019.
“It took him a few months to play a leading role in the Primavera and help bring the Scudetto back to Bergamo, but, above all, to leave a great memory of himself. Goodbye, Willy.”
Ta Bi joined Atalanta from ASEC Mimosas in 2019 and helped the club win the Italian Primavera U19 title the same year.
Manchester United winger Amad Diallo paid tribute to his fellow Ivorian who he played alongside in the Atalanta academy side.
Diallo, 18, posted a photo of the pair together on Instagram, writing: “Rest in peace, big brother.”