English rugby hero dies at 41

Henry

Rob Burrow, former rugby league player from Leeds Rhinos, died on Sunday at the age of 41 after fighting motor neuron disease (MNS) since 2019.

Prince William and Kevin Sinfield are among those who have paid tribute to Burrow on social media.

Burrow won eight Super League championships, three World Club Challenge titles and two Challenge Cups with Leeds Rhinos.

The English and Great Britain player retired in 2017 after 16 years at Leeds and has more than 400 games for the club to his credit.

He played in 15 Tests for England and five for Great Britain.

He kicked 196 tries in his career, but it was the courage he showed during his debilitating illness that will serve as Burrow’s lasting legacy.

He is survived by his wife, Lindsey, and their children Macy, Maya and Jackson.

“In a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream,” the prince said on social media.

He also praised Burrow’s “phenomenal efforts” to raise more than £15 million (about R357 million) to help build a new MNS care centre.

After his diagnosis, Burrow dedicated himself to raising awareness and raising money for MNS.

“Today is the day I hoped would never come,” said Sinfield, England’s kicking and skills coach.

“The world has lost a wonderful man and a wonderful friend.

“You will continue to inspire me every single day – you were the toughest and bravest man I have ever met. I will miss you.”

Leeds announced Burrows’ death in a club statement on Sunday

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother and friend,” said the statement.

“”Rob has always been a true inspiration. He never allowed others to define what he could achieve and believed in his own ability to do more.”

Burrow ended up in a wheelchair in 2021 as his limbs weakened.

In May last year, an emotional Sinfield carried Burrow over the finish line at the first Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon after pushing his wheelchair for 42km.

Leeds plans to recognize the achievements of Burrow and Sinfield with a memorial statue at Headingley.

“The outpouring of love and support that Rob and the entire Burrow family have received over the past four and a half years has meant so much to Rob,” Leeds said in the statement.

The player of the match award at this year’s Super League final will henceforth be named after Burrow who was the first player to win it twice, in 2007 and 2011.

“By doing so much he inspired support from so many,” the MNS association said.