English rugby league star champion and motor neurone disease fundraiser Rob Burrow dies aged 41

English rugby league star champion and motor neurone disease fundraiser Rob Burrow dies aged 41
  • PublishedJune 3, 2024

Former England and Leeds Rhinos rugby league player Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019, has died aged 41.

Prince William and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were among those who paid tribute to Burrow, who played for Leeds between 2001 and 2017, winning eight Super League titles.

“Rob inspired the entire country with his brave battle against MND since his diagnosis in December 2019,” Leeds said on Sunday.

“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.”

After coming through the club’s academy ranks prior to his debut in 2001, Burrow made 492 appearances for Leeds.

Following his MND diagnosis, Burrow and his family raised awareness and funds for the MND community.

Former Leeds and England captain Kevin Sinfield completed seven marathons in seven days to raise more than 1 million pounds ($1.9 million) in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and his former teammate.

To date, the duo had inspired nearly 20 million pounds in fundraising across the UK and Ireland, Leeds said.

Prince William wrote on social media platform X: “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”.

Mr Sunak wrote: “Rob was an inspiration to everyone who met him or who heard his incredible story. I was honoured to spend some time with him last year. He drove a fundraising campaign that supports vital new research improving the care for others …”

Burrow represented England from 2004-13 and Great Britain from 2005-07.

Leeds shared a statement from the family saying: “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 half years meant so much to Rob.”


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