Prince William Mourns Rugby Player Rob Burrow’s Death at Age 41


Prince William is paying tribute to Rob Burrow after the rugby star’s death at age 41 following a battle with motor neurone disease.

“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,’” William, 42, wrote via his and wife Princess Kate Middleton’s official Instagram Story on Sunday, June 2. “Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya and Macy.”

William signed the message, “W.”

On Sunday, Leeds Rhino — the rugby team where Burrow played his entire career — broke the news of his death.

Courtesy of Prince and Princess of Wales / Instagram

“It is with deep sadness that the club can confirm that former player Rob Burrow CBE has passed away, aged 41,” read a statement on the official Leeds Rhino website. “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.”

The organization called Burrow a “hard working and dedicated player,” noting that his “fearless performances” made him “one of the most respected players in the Rhinos ranks.”

Since his diagnosis, Burrow dedicated himself to raising awareness for the condition alongside his former teammate Kevin Sinfield. The twosome have “inspired nearly £20 million in fundraising across the UK and Ireland,” Leeds Rhino wrote.

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The organization added that Burrow has also inspired two documentaries and wrote an autobiography titled Too Many Reason to Live as well as was “awarded a CBE from HRH Prince William at AMT Headingley in January 2023.”

“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,” the statement concluded. “At this time, we would ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Burrow family.”

Prince William Mourns Rugby Player Rob Burrow’s Death at Age 41

Rob Burrow and Prince William, Prince of Wales
PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also mourned Burrow, whom he was “honored” to have spent time with last year.

“Rob was an inspiration to everyone who met him or who heard his incredible story,” Sunak, 44, wrote via X on Sunday. “He drove a fundraising campaign that supports vital new research improving the care for others – not least through the creation of The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds. He leaves behind an amazing legacy and my thoughts are with his friends and family.”

The Burrow family noted that the “outpouring of love and support” that Rob received over the past few years “meant so much” to him.

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

MND is “a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons,” per the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The motor neurons control functions like walking, breathing, speaking and swallowing. ALS, Kennedy’s disease and spinal muscular atrophy are a few of the diagnoses that fall under the umbrella term.

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