"Some days we would have to pull him out of training because he was such a ferocious competitor, such a victor".
"He was a good player, a good passer, but he was going to also do the ugly part of the game".
"There would definitely be a silent tribute, and we could stand up holding his picture or his shirt at the 24th minute and chant "Tiote"," said Chen, adding that further details are still being discussed.
His reputation as a combative, ball-playing midfielder attracted the attention of Newcastle, for whom he signed in a £3.5-million (S$6.2m) deal in August 2010 - a deal which was extended to 6½ years the following summer.
"It was his dream to play in China and I was so delighted for him when it happened", said McClaren.
"Beijing Enterprises football club expresses its deep sorrow and profound condolences for Mr Tioté's untimely death". He was a warrior and could play too.
His most iconic moment in a black-and-white shirt came during Newcastle's memorable 4-4 draw at St James' Park, when the home side fought back from 4-0 down at half-time to earn a point.
He tweeted to Ba, who had paid one of the first tributes on Twitter, "Is this true because I spoke to him today?"
The 52-times capped Tiote, who was in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads, began his European club career with Belgian outfit Anderlecht but only played four times in three years with them - being loaned out to Dutch side Roda JC Kerkrade - before moving to Twente in 2008.
He may not have been as popular as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but any football fan would know - or at least heard - of Cheick Tiote.
FC Twente General manager John Van Halst spoke to the NOS about the death of former Twente player Cheick Tiote who passed away yesterday in China. A wonderful man, who was always laughing or smiling. My heart goes out to his family.
"Cheick was one of the best we had in terms of his attitude", Newcastle legend Peter Beardsley told BBC Radio 5 live.