'What a player and what a person’: Tributes paid to rugby league and MND fundraising hero Rob Burrow who has died at 41

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-Credit: (Image: PA)

Tributes have been paid to the former England international Rob Burrow who has sadly died at the age of 41 after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease.

Burrow became an inspiration to many for the way he reacted to his diagnosis back in 2019, following which he was given just two years to live. Alongside former team-mate Kevin Sinfield, he helped to raise more than £13 million for MND charities.

Tributes have been pouring in for the former England star, who won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenge cups during a 16-year career, which he spent entirely at Leeds Rhinos.

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Among the first to pay tribute to Burrow was Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who said it was an ‘honour’ to know and support the player.

In a post on X Mr Burnham wrote: “What a player and what a person. It was an honour to know Rob and to support him. He will always be with us and we will carry on the fight against MND in his memory. Love to all the Burrow family."

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, meanwhile, wrote: "Ah man. What a guy. What an inspiration. What a hero. A warrior. A Legend. Sleep easy Rob."

Rob Burrow with his family -Credit:Getty Images
Rob Burrow with his family -Credit:Getty Images

Broadcaster Piers Morgan added: "What incredibly sad news. A remarkable man who fought wretched Motor Neurone Disease with such courage, fortitude & determination. He raised so much money, and so much awareness, and helped so many other people. RIP Rob."

In an emotional tribute Burrow's former team mate Jordan Lilley wrote: "An absolute hero, gutted. RIP mate, be truly missed by all. Thank you for all you did for me coming through, it’ll never be forgotten. A true true legend."

Leeds' Super League rivals have also rushed to pay tribute to Burrow.

The London Broncos said: "London Broncos sends our sincere condolences to the family of Rob Burrow and all associated with Leeds Rhinos. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time."

The Huddersfield Giants wrote: "The Huddersfield Giants send our best thoughts and wishes to the Burrow family, and Leeds Rhinos in this difficult time."

St Helens tweeted: "Everyone at StHelens R.F.C. is deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Rob Burrow. A hero in every sense of the word. Our condolences go out to all of Rob’s friends, family and loved ones at this sad time, and everyone involved at the Leeds Rhinos."

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield during the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon -Credit:PA
Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield during the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon -Credit:PA

Wigan Warriors said: "Everyone at Wigan Warriors is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rob Burrow CBE. His legacy will live on through those whose lives he touched, and his story will continue to inspire all. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all at Leeds Rhinos."

Following confirmation of Burrow's death, the MND Association posted on social media saying: "We’re deeply saddened to learn of the death of our patron Rob Burrow CBE. Since his MND diagnosis in 2019, Rob has played a vital role in raising awareness and money to support our work. We will be forever grateful. Our thoughts are with Rob’s family, friends and fans."

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Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield cross the finish line of the 2023 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon -Credit:PA

A Leeds Rhinos statement read: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother and friend.

"Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life whether that was on the rugby league field or during his battle with mnd (motor neurone disease).

"He never allowed others to define what he could achieve and believed in his own ability to do more.

"The outpouring of love and support that rob and the whole burrow family have received over the last four and half years meant so much to Rob.

"In particular, the rugby league family and the mnd community have rallied around rob to inspire him, thank you for your support.

"For those who knew Rob throughout his life, his determination and spirit in the face of mnd over the last four and half years came as no surprise.

"Rob never accepted that he couldn't do something, he just found his own way of doing it better than anyone else.

"He will continue to inspire us all every day. In a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream."