The Rugby League community is mourning the death of the late Kato Ottio, even more so considering the circumstances that were revealed this morning.
A valiant Ottio made the fateful decision to go on an 8km road-run with the Queensland Intrust Super Cup PNG team, leading by example in the heat. Tragically Ottio collapsed due to a heat stroke, became unconscious and was rushed to receive medical attention.
Sadly he didn't pull through, breaking the heart of thousands of Rugby League fans around the world.
Ottio was due to fly to the UK to pursue his dream of playing first-grade, bound to begin at the Widnes Vikings, after several years at Canberra.
Ottio's devastated mother spoke to the Daily Telegraph of her loss.
“He should be close to me and my family,” she said.
“He got heat stroke, that’s what the doctor said. I love him so much, he is my everything. I was with him at the hospital and he should be close to me, I miss my son so much.”
All of us saw at the World Cup the incredible gifts that Kato possessed, and his potential to forge a decorated career in rugby league.
Ottio will be sorely missed by the Kumuls faithful and the Rugby League community worldwide.
Absolutely devastated to hear the passing of my Kumul brother Kato Ottio. He was one of most humble and kind hearted people I have ever known. Lau kudougu ai bonoho hanaimu. Forever in my heart. Love you brother Rest In Peace. I will miss you Katzy Mero ❤️ pic.twitter.com/lWSOoPGiMM
— David Mead (@davidmead411) January 8, 2018
— PNG Kumuls (@PNGKumulsRL) January 8, 2018
Sincerest condolences to Kato Ottio's family, friends and loved one's following his passing. May he rest in peace.
— Clint Newton (@c_newton11) January 8, 2018
— James Deighton (@rlwithjd) January 9, 2018
Devastating news about Kato Ottio, taken too young. Definitely hits home how precious life is. Thoughts are with all his family and friends, RIP.
— Tyrone McCarthy (@TykeMc) January 8, 2018