TRIBUTES have poured in following the death of Robbie Millward, the son of former St Helens boss Ian.
The 19-year-old fell ill on Sunday morning at his home in Leigh before being taken to Bolton Hospital where he later died.
His death prompted many messages of support and sympathy for the Millward family who say the words have been of comfort to them.
In a statement, they said: “On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everybody for their kind messages of support, especially the Rugby League family from both the UK and Australia.
“The messages have been of comfort in this time of great sadness. Robbie was a healthy young boy who died from a condition called sudden adult death syndrome which comprises of a massive heart attack; the sudden nature of his death is making it even harder for us to deal with.”
It’s believed Ian, who also coached Wigan Warriors and St Helens, was travelling back from current side Castleford’s match with Catalan Dragons in France.
The 51-year-old has since been granted compassionate leave from the Super League Clubs.
Robbie was a familiar sight when Millward was at Knowsley Road, often seen sitting next to him during matches.
Top professionals from the game offered their tributes, including one from former Saints captain Paul Sculthorpe on Twitter.
He said: “Devastated to hear about Robbie Millward. Thoughts go out to Basil and family. Lovely kid.”
St Helens Chairman Eamonn McManus added: “This is a real tragedy for Ian and his family. All at the Club, and its supporters, are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news.”
Perhaps the most heartfelt tribute came from amateur club Leigh East where Robbie spent many years as a player.
His former coach Keith Latham said: “Robbie was a brilliant lad and an absolute privilege to coach.
“He was a very talented player who could play in a number of positions.
“I’ll never forget his grin, he was an absolute joy to be around and everyone at Leigh East will miss him terribly.
“He was a fantastic young lad who never got into any trouble – he always had a smile on his face.
“Robbie was also good friends with Kieron Johnson who died a year ago. It’s so sad that we have lost two young lads like this.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his dad Ian, mum Leanne and sisters Sarah and Katie.
“Robbie was a part of the Leigh East family and if they need anything, we are here for them.”