Abuja: One of African football's most recognisable figures, former Nigeria player and coach Stephen Keshi, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family said yesterday. He was 54.

Stephen Keshi
Stephen Keshi

Keshi in 2013 led Nigeria's Super Eagles to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, and a year later took the side to the last 16 of the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Only he and Egypt's Mahmoud El-Gohary won the AFCON as player and coach. Keshi's brother, Emmanuel Ado, said the man affectionately dubbed "Big Boss" by fans and players for his leadership, died in Benin City in southern.

Nigeria, where he has a house and his wife is buried. "Our son, brother, father, father-in-law, brother-in-law has gone to be his wife of 35 years, Mrs Kate Keshi, who passed on 9th December, 2015," he said in a statement.

"Since her death, Keshi has been in mourning. He came back (from the United States, where he lived) to Nigeria to be with her.

"He had planned to fly back today, Wednesday, before he suffered a cardiac arrest. He has found rest. We thank God for his life."