Rob Burrow tribute rings out across St James' Park as England fans honour rugby league legend

A tribute to Rob Burrow is seen on the big screen following the announcement of his death yesterday, ahead of an international friendly at St. James' Park, Newcastle
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Tributes to Rob Burrow rang out across the stands at St James' Park tonight ahead of England's friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Newcastle tonight.

England fans chanted "there's only one Rob Burrow" and applauded loudly as Burrow's image was shown on the big screen in the stadium before the Euro 2024 warm-up match kicked off at 7.45pm.

Tonight's tribute follows the news that the rugby league legend and motor neurone disease (MND) fundraising hero passed away on Sunday evening, aged 41. Burrow, a former Leeds Rhinos player, was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.

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Following is passing, a statement from his family read: "Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life whether that was on the rugby league field or during his battle with MND. 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 a half years meant so much to Rob."

Burrow's former team-mate and great friend Kevin Sinfield, who has undertaken numerous gruelling challenges to raise money to help fight MND, was present with Burrow's family on Monday as ground was broken on a new centre for MND treatment in Leeds, which is to be named after Burrow, the Mirror reports.

Fighting back tears as he spoke to the BBC, Sinfield said: "I wish he could have seen the outpouring of love. I think we all lose special people, but it’s very, very rare you lose someone so special to so many different people.

"As you can see it's pretty raw still, he will leave a massive hole and I know there will be a lot of heartbroken people today. A lot of people from the MND community will be heartbroken this morning, but he cared about everybody."

Burrow's former England and Great Britain team-mate Sam Burgess, who is currently the boss of Warrington, lost his own father to MND, and told Mirror Sport: “I’d obviously known Rob for a long time. It is a horrible disease. We all knew that four-and-a-half years ago. It’s a really sad day. It’s tragic news. But we all knew it was coming at some stage: it’s the reality of MND.

“And he’s left such a remarkable legacy in the MND community and sport in general, not just England but across the globe. For that, many people will be forever in debt to him. That legacy will no doubt continue to grow.

“He had the heart of a lion on the field and a heart of a thousand lions off it. I’m proud to call him a friend and wish all his family and friends the best.”