Rob Burrow's tearful wife and children lay flowers at rugby ground in emotional tribute

-Credit: (Image: Breakfast)
-Credit: (Image: Breakfast)

The family of rugby league icon Rob Burrow made an emotional visit to the growing memorial at his old home ground, Headingley, as fans continue to honour his memory.

Lindsey Burrow, aged 41, and her children Macy, 12, Maya, nine, and five-year-old Jackson spent half an hour reading through the touching messages and cards left by supporters outside Leeds Rhinos' Headingley Stadium.

Overcome with emotion, Lindsey was seen holding back tears while she read the public's heartfelt tributes. Her school-uniformed children joined in laying flowers for their dad, with eldest daughter Macy offering a comforting arm to her mother, and young Jackson poignantly asking, "Are these all for Daddy?"

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Burrow, who was just 41 years old and had been battling motor neurone disease since his diagnosis in 2019, passed away in hospital last Sunday. He had been given a prognosis of two years to live.

In the wake of his passing, there has been a continuous outpouring of grief at Headingley, with fans leaving behind scarves, flags, shirts, flowers, and balloons emblazoned with the number 7 a nod to the jersey number he wore so proudly, reports the Mirror.

Echoing through many of the tributes were words such as "inspiration", "legend", "greatest and toughest" and "champ". Following his diagnosis, the former Leeds Rhinos, Great Britain and England star dedicated himself to raising awareness about MND and fundraising for research into the devastating disease, for which there is no cure.

Many of the messages contained personal sentiments to the family, expressing gratitude for all they had done and extending well wishes as they grapple with Rob's passing. Lindsey took time to read the tributes and converse with those associated with the club, while embracing her daughters and pointing out teddies to her son.

Those who arrived to lay flowers while the family was present respectfully held back until the family had concluded their visit. In a heartfelt tribute to her husband yesterday, Lindsey expressed: "Although we knew this day would arrive, I am somehow still feeling at a loss for words that our loving, kind and caring husband and father has departed. However, we take comfort from how much people's love and continued support meant to Rob through his most vulnerable times."

Describing him as "simply the best" and "our hero", she continued: "I was incredibly proud and fortunate to call Rob my husband. "I am unbelievably proud of the campaigning he's done to raise awareness and the millions of pounds raised in his name for MND charities."

She concluded by saying: "My priority is to make Rob proud, and to bring our three children up as Rob would want and ensure their happiness and well-being."

Rob Burrow and wife, Lindsey Burrow
Rob Burrow and wife, Lindsey Burrow -Credit:George Wood/Getty Images

Rugby legend Kevin Sinfield said: "Today was the day that I hoped would never come. The world has lost a great man and a wonderful friend to so so many. You fought so bravely until the end and became a beacon of hope and inspiration, not only for the MND community but for all those who saw and heard your story.

"I would always say that you were pound for pound the toughest player I ever played alongside, however since your diagnosis, you were the toughest and bravest man I have ever met."

Sinfield is praised for his fundraising endeavours, raising substantial sums for MND research through a succession of gruelling challenges. Last year saw him completing seven ultra-marathons across seven cities in seven days including Dublin, Edinburgh, and Birmingham, amassing over £825,000 in donations.

Sinfield and Burrow were both instrumental in the establishment of the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, which successfully held its second event last month.

Jamie Peacock, a teammate from Burrow's successful stint with Leeds, shared on Instagram: "Rob in a sport where courage, bravery and grit are characteristic of every player at the absolute top, you were the most courageous, the bravest and the grittiest of them all."

"Becoming an inspiration for 1000s and a North Star for the MND community, providing hope where before there was none. Never once complaining about your condition and situation. An inspiration to us all. RIP mate."

The Prince of Wales also paid his respects, hailing Burrow as a "legend of rugby league" with a "huge heart". He said: "He taught us, 'in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.' Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya and Macy."