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Rugby League star Rob Burrow dies aged 41 after suffering from motor neurone disease

Rugby League star Rob Burrow dies aged 41 after suffering from motor neurone disease

The news was confirmed by the Leeds Rhinos on Sunday

Former England and Leeds Rhinos rugby player, Rob Burrow has died at the age of 41.

Burrow was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2019 when he was 37.

Rob Burrow has died (George Wood/Getty Images)
Rob Burrow has died (George Wood/Getty Images)

The dad-of-three spent his entire 16-year professional career with Leeds Rhinos in the Super League, but retired in 2017.

The sad news was announced by the club on Sunday (2 June).

The statement reads: "It is with deep sadness that the club can confirm that former player Rob Burrow CBE has passed away, aged 41.

"Rob inspired the entire country with his brave battle against Motor Neurone Disease (MND) since his diagnosis in December 2019. He passed away peacefully at Pinderfield’s Hospital near his home surrounded by his loving family after becoming ill earlier this week.

"Burrow played his entire career with Leeds Rhinos and won every honour with the club as part of their golden generation. A hard working and dedicated player, his fearless performances made him one of the most respected players in the Rhinos ranks."

The statement continued: "... Following his MND diagnosis in December 2019, Burrow and his family took the decision to open their doors to show the impact of the disease and raise awareness and funds for the MND community.

"Since then Burrow has inspired two award winning documentaries, wrote a best selling autobiography, hosted an award winning podcast and was awarded a CBE from HRH Prince William at AMT Headingley in January 2023.

"Along with his friend and former team mate Kevin Sinfield, Burrow has inspired nearly £20 million in fundraising across the UK and Ireland. This has included raising over £6 million to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds as a lasting legacy for those who follow him in their own personal battles with the disease.

"On behalf of the Burrow family, we would like to thank the staff at Pindersfield Hospital for their compassion and caring for Rob in his final days. Fittingly, as a tribute to the incredible work done by Rob, the groundbreaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital on Monday will go ahead as planned at Rob's request. At this time, we would ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Burrow family.

"Well wishers who wish to pay their respects to Rob can do so in the South Stand at Rob's beloved Headingley Stadium, with the gates open from Sunday evening for visitors to come."

Since being diagnosed, Burrow spent the last few years raising millions of pounds for charities doing research into the disease, often alongside his wife, Lindsey.

In 2022, he received an MBE for raising money and awareness of the condition.

Kevin Sinfield - Burrow's friend and fellow rugby player - also began raising money shortly after he was diagnosed.

In 2023, Sinfield was captured carrying his friend over the finish line for the Leeds Marathon.

Rob Burrow was recently carried across the finish line at a Leeds marathon held in his honor (PA)
Rob Burrow was recently carried across the finish line at a Leeds marathon held in his honor (PA)

After pushing him for the 26.2-mile (42.1 km) marathon in a specially adapted wheelchair, Sinfield lifted Burrow and carried him over to complete the race as the crowd cheered on.

"It felt fantastic to be part of a team again with my mate Kevin as our captain," Burrow said.

"Kevin joked that he didn't want me to beat him by crossing the line (in my chair) first. I think he knew I had a cunning plan to claim that I finished before him.

"I want him to know that I have a plan to beat him next year."

Featured Image Credit: George Wood/Getty

Topics: UK News, Sport, Rugby