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Leeds Rhinos Legend Rob Burrow Dies at 41

Leeds Rhinos Legend Rob Burrow Dies at 41

Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has passed away at the age of 41, as announced by the Super League club. Burrow, who represented the Rhinos throughout his 16-year career, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in December 2019, two years after retiring. Despite his illness, he dedicated himself to raising awareness and funds for MND, working alongside former teammate Kevin Sinfield to raise millions and support the construction of a new care center for MND patients.

Burrow was honored with a CBE in the New Year Honours List for his contributions to MND awareness.

Leeds Rhinos’ statement on Sunday evening read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother, and friend.

“Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life, whether 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. In particular, the rugby league family and MND community have rallied around Rob to inspire him. Thank you for your support.

“For those who knew Rob throughout his life, his determination and spirit in the face of MND over the last four and a half years came as no surprise.”

Burrow’s illustrious career included eight Grand Final triumphs, two Challenge Cup victories, and three World Club Challenges with Leeds Rhinos. He is fifth on Leeds’ all-time list of appearance-makers, scoring 1,103 points from 492 matches between 2001 and 2017. He also earned 15 England caps and made five appearances for Great Britain. One of his most memorable tries was a long-range effort against St Helens in 2011, showcasing his strength, elusiveness, and pace.

However, Burrow’s legacy extends beyond the rugby field. His tireless work to raise awareness and funds for MND has made him an icon in the sports community. Despite his diagnosis at 37, Burrow continued to inspire, working alongside other notable figures like Doddie Weir to highlight the challenges of MND.

By the summer of 2020, Burrow had lost his voice and began using an eye-gaze machine to communicate. His resolve never wavered, and he continued to raise awareness through various initiatives, including an emotional BBC documentary, ‘Rob Burrow – My Year with MND’. His friend Kevin Sinfield’s extraordinary fundraising efforts, including running seven marathons in seven days, also brought significant attention and support to the cause.

In recognition of their efforts, Leeds Rhinos plan to erect a statue of Burrow and Sinfield at Headingley. Burrow’s autobiography, ‘Too Many Reasons To Live’, won second prize in the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. He was awarded an MBE in 2021 and a CBE in 2024, along with Sinfield, for their services to MND awareness. Burrow also received the Helen Rollason Award at the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony, where he paid tribute to his “MND hero” Weir.

Rob Burrow’s strength and courage in the face of adversity have left an indelible mark on the rugby league community and beyond. He will be remembered not only for his remarkable achievements on the field but also for his extraordinary contributions to the fight against MND.

Credit: TalkSport

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