'He showed the world what strength and courage looked like' - tributes to 'warrior' Rob Burrow

Tributes are pouring in for Leeds Rhinos legend and MND fundraiser Rob Burrow after it was announced that he sadly died at the age of 41.

Rob had played rugby internationally and won eight Super League titles with Leeds Rhinos before being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) aged 37. Since his diagnosis, he campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List for his services to MND.

Rob's family and Leeds Rhinos confirmed the sad news in a statement shared earlier this evening (Sunday, June 2). Since then, emotional tributes have poured in for Rob on social media from those in and outside of the sporting community, as people pay tribute to the “inspiration” and “great champion” who “taught us so much”.

Read more: Leeds Rhinos' heartbreaking tribute to 'true inspiration' Rob Burrow - statement in full

The Motor Neurone Disease Association said: “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.”

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper wrote: “My prayers are with Lindsey, Rob’s beautiful kids as well as the rest of his family and friends - especially Kev. I was honoured to spend a little time with Rob, we all know what an inspiration he was. Lets keep the fight going in his name. Rest in Peace Rob.”

Broadcaster Dan Walker, who interviewed Rob when he was a presenter on BBC Breakfast, said: “He was the little fella who made a massive impact on the pitch and an even bigger one off it. Rob Burrow taught us so much in the way he dealt with his MND diagnosis and inspired millions with his continued determination and desire to make a difference for others.

“Sending all my love to Lindsey and their kids, his sisters, his mum and dad and all those who will miss him so much.”

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Nigel Wood, chairman of Leeds Rhinos’ great rivals, Bradford Bulls, said: “Not only was Rob a champion player but he proved to be an even greater champion in his last battle, against this dreadful and debilitating disease. The last few years, thanks to his endeavours and those of his many friends and former playing colleagues, in particular Kevin Sinfield CBE, a tremendous focus has been placed upon finding a permanent cure for MND.

Rob Burrow with his children, left to right Macy, Jackson, Maya, and his wife Lindsey Burrow
Kevin Sinfield running with Rob Burrow

“Everyone at the Bradford Bulls has the greatest respect for Rob, Lindsey and the Burrow family, Kevin and everyone at the Leeds Rhinos for the manner in which they’ve confronted this latest challenge and we send our love and kindest wishes at this very sad time. Long may he live in the memory of those who have enjoyed his brilliant skills and sportsmanship throughout his magnificent Rugby League career and beyond.”

In a personally signed message on X, the Prince of Wales wrote: “A legend of Rugby League, Rob Burrow had a huge heart. 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. W”

Robs youngest daughter Maya shows him his Pride of Britain trophy in 2023

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: "Deeply saddened to hear that Rob Burrow has passed away. Rob showed the world what strength and courage looked like, raising awareness and funds for motor neurone disease right up until the end of his life. A true hero - we will always be grateful for all that he’s done."

A spokesperson for Hull FC said: “Hull FC are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rob Burrow CBE.

“Rob fought his battle with incredible strength - his legacy to both Rugby League and the MND community will never be forgotten. Everyone at the club sends their thoughts and condolences to Rob's family and loved ones, and everyone associated with Leeds Rhinos. Rest In Peace, Rob.”

Alan Shearer wrote: “Ah man. What a guy. What an inspiration. What a hero. A warrior. A Legend. Sleep easy Rob.”

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Rob’s youngest daughter Maya shows him the Pride of Britain trophy Rob Burrow with wife Lindsey win the Special Recognition Award presented by Martin Sheen and Louise Redknapp at the 2023 Pride of Britain Awards on Sunday 8th October 2023. -Credit:Daily Mirror

A spokesperson for the Rugby Football League said: “Rob Burrow was an outstanding Rugby League player, for club and country. Since December 2019, his courage and humanity - allied to that of his family, friends and former Leeds Rhinos team-mates, led by Kevin Sinfield CBE - has transcended sport.”