Kevin Sinfield pays tribute to wonderful friend Rob Burrow

Kevin Sinfield pays tribute to \'wonderful friend\' Rob Burrow

The former rugby league player has died at the age of 41 after battling motor neurone disease

Kevin Sinfield has joined the Prince of Wales in paying tribute to “wonderful friend” Rob Burrow following his death aged 41 after battling motor neurone disease.

Former rugby league player Sinfield said the world had “lost a great man”, adding that his Leeds Rhinos team-mate had been a “beacon of hope and inspiration” since his diagnosis.

The MND Association said Burrow was a “passionate advocate” for people with the “brutal” disease, with William adding that the “legend of rugby league” had a “huge heart”.

Burrow’s former team, Leeds Rhinos, said he “passed away peacefully” at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, near his home, surrounded by his family, after becoming ill earlier this week.

In a personally signed message on X, William said: “He taught us, ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.’ Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya and Macy.”

In January, the prince surprised Burrow and Sinfield by making them CBEs during a visit to Headingley Stadium, paying tribute to their “phenomenal” efforts in raising funds for motor neurone disease.

Burrow spearheaded a £6.8 million appeal for Leeds Hospitals Charity, where he received care, for a state-of-the-art care centre for people living with motor neurone disease.

Leeds Rhinos said work on Monday to begin building the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease will “go ahead as planned at Rob’s request”, adding it was a tribute to his “incredible work”.

Leeds Hospitals Charity said Burrow was “an inspiration, not only to the people of Yorkshire, but the entire nation, and across the world”, adding that he spread joy with his “infectious smile and unwavering sense of humour”.

In a statement posted on X by Leeds Rhinos, Sinfield said: “Today was the day that I hoped would never come.

“The world has lost a great man and a wonderful friend to so so many.

“You fought so bravely until the end and became a beacon of hope and inspiration, not only for the MND (motor neurone disease) community but for all those who saw and heard your story.”

He continued in his tribute to Burrow: “I would always say that you were pound for pound the toughest player I ever played alongside, however since your diagnosis, you were the toughest and bravest man I have ever met.

“I will miss you my little mate.”

Burrow spent his entire rugby league career with Leeds Rhinos and helped them win eight Super League titles, and represented Great Britain.

Emotional well-wishers turned up at the club’s Headingley Stadium on Sunday to pay their respects, leaving flowers, shirts and other tributes.

The chief executive of the MND Association said Burrow was “brilliant for the motor neurone disease community” and that he lived with the condition with “dignity, kindness and tenacity”.

Tanya Curry, who has led the charity since January 2023, told the PA news agency: “We are so grateful for everything that Rob and his family did.

“He allowed his diagnosis to come into people’s homes so he could show the impact of this devastating and cruel disease that he lived with since the end of 2019 with such dignity, kindness and tenacity.

“Whenever you met Rob, you couldn’t help but smile and have a great conversation with him and he will be missed by so many.”

Ms Curry said Burrow, a patron of the MND Association, was “immensely brave” to share his diagnosis and “allowed people to have hope”.

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