Thursday 22 August 2019

Rugby in mourning after shock death of 26-year-old referee

Rugby league referee Chris Leatherbarrow has died at the age of 26
Rugby league referee Chris Leatherbarrow has died at the age of 26 Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Rugby Football League has announced the death of referee Chris Leatherbarrow.

The 26-year-old from St Helens had progressed through the ranks to become a Super League official. No details have been given about the cause of death.

In a short statement, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "We are all truly shocked and saddened by the news of Chris Leatherbarrow's untimely death.

"This is a dreadful tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with Chris' family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time."

Fellow referee Richard Silverwood led the tributes on Twitter:

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Leatherbarrow, who leaves behind a young daughter, was also hailed by another referee, Robert Hicks, who wrote:

Current and former players also paid tribute to Leatherbarrow:

Leatherbarrow hailed from the rugby league hotbed of St Helens in northwest England, and had a young daughter, Daisy, with his partner Nicola. No details about a cause of death have been released.

Leatherbarrow was named Championship Referee of the Year in 2013 for his displays in British rugby league's second tier.

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