Rob Burrow dies at age of 41 as tributes are paid

Rob Burrow has died at the age of 41
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Former rugby league player and charity campaigner Rob Burrow has died at the age of 41.

Mr Burrow, who was born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, spent his entire 16-year club career at Leeds Rhinos. He also represented England and Great Britain.

He retired from the sport in 2017 and was diagnosed with with motor neurone disease (MND) in December 2019. Leeds Rhinos said he "inspired the entire country" as he battled the disease.

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With the help of friend and former Leeds teammate Kevin Sinfield, over £6m was been raised for a new treatment centre for MND patients in Leeds. It would be named the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease.

Mr Burrow and Mr Sinfield's work has inspired nearly £20 million in fundraising across the UK and Ireland.

The former scrum half was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours, being honoured for his services to rugby league and raising awareness of motor neurone disease. He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2024 New Year Honours.

In a statement, Leeds Rhinos said: "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.

"Rob rose through the club’s Academy ranks to make his debut in 2001. In 2004, he was part of the Leeds team that ended a 32-year wait to win the Championship with victory in the Grand Final. It was the first of eight Grand Final wins for Burrow including winning the Man of the Match award in the 2007 and 2011 Old Trafford showpieces. The 2011 game included his breathtaking try that is still regarded as the greatest Grand Final try ever scored.

"In total he made 492 appearances for the club, placing him in fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances. He scored 196 tries for a total of 1,103 points. He was capped 15 times by England and played five more tests for Great Britain including a Man of the Series performance in 2007 for the national side. He won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2014 and 2015 as well as three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders Shields.

"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."

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