Who was rugby league legend Rob Burrow?

ROB Burrow played for Leeds Rhinos and won eight Super League titles in an illustrious rugby career.

He sadly passed away on June 2, 2024 at the age of 41 after a brave battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

Rob Burrow had an illustrious career in rugby league

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Rob Burrow had an illustrious career in rugby league

Who was Rob Burrow?

Burrow was born on September 26, 1982, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

He joined Leeds Rhinos as a 19-year-old and played his entire 16-year career with the club, competing in close to 500 games.

Rob won the Challenge Cup on two occasions and also won the Super League a whopping eight times with Leeds Rhinos.

Burrow was also selected to play for England at the Rugby League World Cup in Australia in 2008.

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The scrum-half then decided to retire in 2017, bringing to a close his glittering Rhinos career, before he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2020.

He died in hospital near his West Yorkshire home on June 2, 2024 — the same day that ground was broken on a new £6million centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research in Leeds, which is set to bear his name.

Burrow and his former teammate and close friend Kevin Sinfield campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to help MND charities.

This included Sinfield running seven marathons in as many days in December 2020, raising over £1.7 million and culminating in a touching moment where he and Burrow crossed the finish line together.

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Both were awarded CBEs in 2024 for their efforts.

Plans for the sporting icon’s funeral have been confirmed by his old club.

The Leeds Rhinos statement announced that he would be cremated in Pontefract in a private ceremony.

However, members of the public have been invited to line the streets on the route to the crematorium as a final send-off for the great man.

I’m climbing seven peaks in honour of my mate and hero Rob Burrow

The service will take place on July 7, 2024, which the club celebrates as Rob Burrow Day to match his number 7 shirt.

When was Rob Burrow diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease?

In December 2019 it was revealed that Burrow had been suffering with MND.

After being diagnosed with the illness, he dedicated himself to helping the MND community.

On June 2, 2024, Burrow‘s former side, Leeds Rhinos, released the following heartbreaking statement: “It is with deep sadness that the club can confirm that former player Rob Burrow CBE has passed away, aged 41.

Rob Burrow is survived by his wife Lindsey and daughters Maya and Macy (pictured), and son Jackson

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Rob Burrow is survived by his wife Lindsey and daughters Maya and Macy (pictured), and son Jackson

“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.

“Rob rose through the club’s academy ranks to make his debut in 2001.

Burrow’s sister Claire Burnett, dad Geoff, mum Irene and sister Joanne Hartshorn

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Burrow’s sister Claire Burnett, dad Geoff, mum Irene and sister Joanne Hartshorn

“In 2004, he was part of the Leeds team that ended a 32-year wait to win the Championship with victory in the Grand Final.

“It was the first of eight Grand Final wins for Burrow including winning the man of the match award in the 2007 and 2011 Old Trafford showpieces.

“The 2011 game included his breath-taking try that is still regarded as the greatest Grand Final try ever scored.

“In total he made 492 appearances for the club, placing him in fifth in the club’s all-time list of career appearances. He scored 196 tries for a total of 1,103 points.

Geoff Burrow, the hero's father, appeared emotional at a ceremony for the centre he long campaigned for on June 3, 2024

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Geoff Burrow, the hero’s father, appeared emotional at a ceremony for the centre he long campaigned for on June 3, 2024

“He was capped 15 times by England and played five more tests for Great Britain including a Man of the Series performance in 2007 for the national side.

“He won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2014 and 2015 as well as three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders Shields.

“Following his MND diagnosis in December 2019, Burrow and his family took the decision to open their doors to show the impact of the disease and raise awareness and funds for the MND community.

“Since then Burrow has inspired two award-winning documentaries, wrote a best selling autobiography, hosted an award-winning podcast and was awarded a CBE from HRH Prince William at AMT Headingley in January 2023.

What is the £6m centre?

The new £6million Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) will be a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the complex – changing needs of those with the illness.

Work began at the site at Seacroft Hospital today, with Burrow’s family saying he “would be looking down and smiling”.

The former England rugby star had been spearheading a £6.8m charity appeal for Leeds Hospitals Charity to build the centre to support those living with the incurable disease.

The building will provide specialist areas for speech and language therapy, dietetics, neurology, respiratory and palliative care.

Once complete, it will also house a therapy space, procedure room and an area for patients to “bank” their own voices if they use a digital aid to support communication.

Families and carers of those with MND will also be supported at the centre.

The site, which is more than 1,000 square metres, will have wheelchair accessible parking and a landscaped garden.

Views of patients, families and carers and the needs of clinical staff and other specialist services have all been incorporated in the design of the facility.

Since Burrow’s death was announced yesterday the fundraising appeal for the centre has received more than 1,000 donations.

The build is expected to take around a year.

“Along with his friend and former team-mate Kevin Sinfield, Burrow has inspired nearly £20m in fundraising across the UK and Ireland.

“This has included raising over £6m to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds as a lasting legacy for those who follow him in their own personal battles with the disease.

“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.

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“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.”

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