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Prince of Wales leads tributes to Rob Burrow after rugby league legend’s death aged 41 | UK News

Tributes have been paid to Rob Burrow – the former rugby league star who worked tirelessly to raise awareness for motor neurone disease (MND) following his diagnosis of the illness – after he died aged 41.

Leeds Rhinos, the club where Burrow spent his entire career and won eight Super League titles, said the former player passed away at Pinderfield’s Hospital near his home surrounded by his loving family after becoming ill earlier this week.

Read more: Rob Burrow dies aged 41

The Prince of Wales, who presented the former player and his teammate Kevin Sinfield with CBEs earlier this year, posted on X that Burrow was a “legend of Rugby League” and “had a huge heart”.

“He taught us, ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream,'” he added. “Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya and Macy.”

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From January: Burrow and Sinfield awarded CBEs by Prince William

In their statement, Leeds Rhinos said Burrow “won every honour with the club as part of their golden generation,” and added: “A hard-working and dedicated player, his fearless performances made him one of the most respected players in the Rhinos ranks.”

The club added: “Fittingly, as a tribute to the incredible work done by Rob, the ground-breaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital on Monday will go ahead as planned at Rob’s request.

“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.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Burrow an “inspiration to everyone who met him or who heard his incredible story”.

He added: “I was honoured to spend some time with him last year. He drove a fundraising campaign that supports vital new research improving the care for others – not least through the creation of The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds.

“He leaves behind an amazing legacy and my thoughts are with his friends and family.”

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From May 2023: Rob Burrow says ‘Kev is still my captain’

Sir Keir Starmer also said the MND campaigner’s death was “extremely sad news” and added: “Rob leaves behind an incredible legacy in his work to raise awareness and advocate for those with Motor Neurone Disease.

“My thoughts are with his family and friends through this time.”

‘Unwavering sense of humour’

Rugby union player Andy Goode also said: “RIP to the legend and absolute warrior Rob Burrow, sad news but what an absolute champion he was.”

Former football pundit Chris Kamara also said: “What a trooper Rob was. He fought a real battle with MND.

“Rob raised awareness & funds, despite his condition, for other people to benefit from. The impact he leaves will be long lasting. RIP Rob what a hero.”

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Grand Final moments: Burrow’s stunning solo try

The chief executive of Leeds Hospitals Charity, of which Burrow was a supporter, said he was “an inspiration, not only to the people of Yorkshire, but the entire nation”.

Esther Wakeman added: “Rob, and his family, bravely shared his personal story with us all and showed us how to live life to the fullest in the face of adversity.

“Even when his own voice failed him, he gave a voice to the entire MND community giving people hope and spreading joy with his infectious smile and unwavering sense of humour.

“Thanks to Rob’s dedication and support, we have now raised £5.8m to help bring Rob’s dream to life, a specialist centre for people living with MND and their families.”

Rob Burrow in action during his testimonial match. Pic: PA
Image:
Burrow in action during his testimonial match. Pic: PA

‘Huge courage’

The MND Association described Burrow as a “consistent and passionate advocate for people with MND” and noted he had been the first person to use a communications aid to read a bedtime story on CBeebies.

It added: “And he joined the United To End MND coalition which successfully campaigned for a £50m government investment in targeted MND research.

“In doing so much, he inspired support from so many.”

Its chief executive Tanya Curry added: “I was just struck by his humour, his practical approach to this disease, the twinkle in his eye, the fact that he had huge determination to share the impact with the world, and to also really fight so hard along his journey.

“He allowed people to have hope. But he was also very realistic with where he was and he just opened his life up and that takes huge courage.

“And I know the community was so grateful for that.”

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