'For someone of 5ft 5ins, he was a giant of a man' - Leeds unites in grief for Rob Burrow

Leeds Rhinos fans and people from across the country inspired by Rob Burrow's courage have paid tribute to him and the brilliant work he did to raise money and awareness for MND.

Rob Burrow is a legend for Leeds Rhinos, playing hundreds of games across almost two decades with the club, before he retired in 2017. In 2019, he revealed he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and he began to campaign to raise money and awareness around the condition.

He sadly passed away on June 2, 2024, and now people from across the city and from further beyond have gathered to remember him.

Read More: Rob Burrow dies live updates as tributes pour in to Leeds Rhinos and MND fundraising hero

Scores of people have been paying their respects outside Headingley Stadium to leave messages by the South Gate. Some people left flowers, others shirts and some left messages to Rob, his friend Kevin Sinfield and his family.

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Stephen Halvorson travelled all the way from Liverpool just to pay tribute to Rob after being inspired by his story. He said: "I've got a terminal disease, I've got terminal cancer. So seeing his strength and then seeing Kevin and his friends and a family and everything that he did, obviously it means a lot to myself and it must mean a lot to people who have got MND, who've got any other sort of terminal disease.

"It must mean such a lot to them because I know it has done to me. It's such an inspiration to be able to see that you could do as much as you possibly can, and his friends and family did. So that's why I've come from Liverpool just this morning because I just wanted to pay my respects and go."

Many Leeds locals also showed up to pay tribute, with some coming wearing Leeds Rhinos shirts. Many of these were replicas of Rob Burrow's shirts.

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Howard Newton has been a supporter of the club for years, and met Rob personally before. About Rob, he said: "He meant a hell of a lot, he was one of the best players, one of the best scrum-halves, that I've seen in the modern era of the game.

"I had the privilege of many years of watching Rob play and I've had the privilege of meeting him on a number of occasions since he was diagnosed with MND. It's just a sad, sad day today, he was an inspiration to everyone, he proved that, no matter what, you follow your dreams, you can achieve anything."

Howard also hopes a permanent memorial will be placed somewhere near the stadium to remember Rob and the work he did.

Ian Smith also came out to pay tribute to Rob at Headingley Stadium, praising the way he had worked so tirelessly to help people while being so ill himself. Ian said: "Rob's been inspirational for many, many years, both as a player and more so, for someone of five foot five, he was a giant of a man.

"He and his family have been able to transition from the Rugby League world, to open the door for the MND community, selflessly. The whole of the family has been selfless in their dedication to promoting this. Just a human being with an example we should follow."