Ex-Raiders player Kato Ottio dies suddenly


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    Former Canberra Raiders player Kato Ottio has died from a “sudden health issue” just days before flying out for a chance to make his first-grade rugby league debut in England’s Super League.

    Papua New Guinea star David Mead has led the tributes for his 2017 World Cup teammate, who died aged 23 while training in PNG ahead of linking with the Widnes Vikings.

    “Absolutely devastated to hear the passing of my Kumul brother Kato Ottio,” Mead said on Twitter.

    “He was one of most humble and kind hearted people I have ever known.

    “Forever in my heart. Love you brother Rest In Peace. I will miss you.”

    It’s believed outside back Ottio was training with players from Queensland Cup side PNG Hunters when he collapsed after a long running session.

    He was taken to hospital but fell into a coma and never recovered.

    Ottio never played an NRL game, but led the try scoring during the 2016 NSW Cup for Mounties and scored a try in last year’s World Cup.

    Raiders coach Ricky Stuart and players Blake Austin and Elliott Whitehead also expressed their condolences.

    Stuart said his death had “knocked me for six” and described him as “a very respectful young man who appreciated” the club’s efforts to support his career.

    Austin said there “wasn’t a day he wasn’t smiling”.

    NSW Rugby League boss Dave Trodden also paid tribute to Ottio, who signed with Widnes in December after the World Cup and was to fly to the UK this week.

    “Kato Ottio’s passing, at just 23, is tragic,” Trodden said in a statement.

    “Kato lit up the stage in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition for Mounties in 2016 and had an incredibly bright future in our game as his caps for PNG in the World Cup showed.

    “He will be sorely missed and our thoughts and wishes go out to his friends and family, not just in NSW but across the world.”

    Widnes chief executive James Rule said Ottio’s death had sent shockwaves through the club.

    “We are devastated to learn that Kato Ottio has passed away this afternoon. Kato was an incredibly talented player, with a bright future ahead of him in rugby league,” Rule said.

    “This news is all the more tragic, because Kato was due to travel to the UK this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league.

    “Having only learned this morning that Kato had developed a sudden health issue whilst training yesterday, we are in absolute shock to now receive this tragic news.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • January 9th 2018 @ 11:59am
      Fred said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      A tragedy for the young man and his family, and for PNG. He would have grown into a superstar at Widnes. A shame he never got the chance he deserved at Canberra.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 4:29pm
      Cathar Treize said | January 9th 2018 @ 4:29pm | ! Report


    • January 10th 2018 @ 12:07am
      Gary Harvey said | January 10th 2018 @ 12:07am | ! Report

      So so sad. Was supporting his family after his own Father had passed away. He was definitely on the verge of first grade before his injury and had a big future in a game he had only played seriously for a few years. Vale

    • Roar Rookie

      January 10th 2018 @ 1:11am
      Farmduck said | January 10th 2018 @ 1:11am | ! Report

      The Widnes Vikings club has established a crowd fund to raise 5,000GBP for his family


    • January 10th 2018 @ 11:54am
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | January 10th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      Such sad news. Would have loved Kato to have played in green at senior level. He looked very promising until he did his ACL. Unfortunately he didn’t get an opportunity with both Rapana and Cotric playing so well on the wings. Just such a shame for one so young who was chasing his dream.

    • January 11th 2018 @ 7:34am
      BA Sports said | January 11th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Wow – I am shocked and so saddened. I have watched him play countless times in the NSW Cup and was pleased for him to get his shot in the RWC. I thought he looked like a first gade player and think he would have made it.

      But just so sad as he seemed like a really nice guy too. – it feels like it should be a bigger story.

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