Ireland prop Mike Ross has spoken for the first time about the suicide of his younger brother Andrew at the age of just 16 and how it devastated his close-knit family.
The Leinster star and father-of-two was nearly 18 when his younger brother Andrew died at the family farm in Ballyhooly, Co Cork.
"When a child dies, it affects everybody in the family," Ross (35) told the Irish Independent. "It came out of the blue. There were no signs leading up to it, none whatsoever. There was no note. Nothing was ever the same again."
Ross is now an ambassador for Anam Cara, the support group for bereaved parents, and was speaking as he launched the #daddyandme campaign in the run up to Father's Day on June 21.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the difficulties facing bereaved dads, and raise funds for support services for parents who have lost a child.
"People treat bereaved fathers differently from mothers," Ross said. "They often ask men in the situation 'How's your wife coping?' I think it's great that with Father's Day coming up, the #daddyandme campaign puts the focus back on fathers.'
The rugby player, who has been capped 49 times for his country, said he was speaking about his own loss to help others cope with bereavement.
"It can be a very powerful thing to listen to other people and share your own story," Ross said. "That's why I'm doing this, talking about my brother and how it affected our family."
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