Rugby league legend Burrow dies at age of 41

Rugby league legend Rob Burrow has died at the age of 41, Leeds Rhinos have announced.

Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, just two years after retiring from a stellar 17-season rugby league career.

He won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cup trophies and three World Club Challenges in an illustrious playing spell with Leeds, while he also represented England and Great Britain internationally.

After being diagnosed with the illness, he dedicated himself to raising awareness and funds for the MND community with the support of close friend and former Leeds team-mate Kevin Sinfield.

Image: Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield after Leeds Rhinos’ Super League Grand Final win in 2011

Leeds’ statement released on Sunday evening read: “It is with deep sadness that the club can confirm that former player Rob Burrow CBE has passed away, aged 41.

“Rob inspired the entire country with his brave battle against motor neurone disease (MND) since his diagnosis in December 2019. He passed away peacefully at Pinderfield’s Hospital near his home surrounded by his loving family after becoming ill earlier this week.

“Burrow played his entire career with Leeds Rhinos and won every honour with the club as part of their golden generation. A hard working and dedicated player, his fearless performances made him one of the most respected players in the Rhinos ranks.

“On behalf of the Burrow family, we would like to thank the staff at Pindersfield Hospital for their compassion and caring for Rob in his final days.

“Fittingly, as a tribute to the incredible work done by Rob, the groundbreaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital on Monday will go ahead as planned at Rob’s request. At this time, we would ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Burrow family.”

Rob Burrow dies aged 41

Burrow family: Rob never allowed others to define what he could achieve

Burrow is survived by wife Lindsey and children Macy, Maya and Jackson.

A statement from the Burrow family 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 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.

“In particular, the rugby league family and the MND community have rallied around Rob to inspire him, thank you for your support.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - 07/10/2017 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Grand Final - Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos - Old Trafford, Manchester, England - Rob Burrow.
Image: Burrow won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cup trophies and three World Club Challenges with Leeds

“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.

“Rob never accepted that he couldn’t do something, he just found his own way of doing it better than anyone else. He will continue to inspire us all every day. In a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.”

The Motor Neurone Disease Association said: “It is testament to the strength of feeling people have for Rob that the support in his name has never wavered.

“The MND Association is incredibly grateful to Rob and his family for helping to raise awareness of MND, and funds for the association, by sharing the details of their journey and by inspiring so many people both within the MND community and the wider public.

“Our thoughts today are with Rob’s wife Lindsey, children Macy, Maya and Jackson, family and friends and the rugby community.”

Rob Burrow: Star player and MND campaigner

Burrow was part of the Leeds team that won Super League in 2004, a victory that ended the club’s 32-year wait for a title, while he was then named Man of the Match in Rhinos’ 2007 and 2011 victories.

He made 492 appearances for the club, placing him fifth on the all-time list of career appearances and scored 196 tries for a total of 1,103 points.

Internationally, Burrow – who was awarded a CBE in January 2024 – was capped 15 times by England and played five Tests for Great Britain.

Since his MND diagnosis, Burrow, along with Sinfield, has inspired nearly £20 million in fundraising across the UK and Ireland, including raising over £6 million to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds.

Source : Sky Sports