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Rob Burrow: Tributes after death of Leeds Rhinos and MND activist aged 41

“Live and love with a purpose”published at 15:34

The word “inspirational” is overused, especially when people are sick.

For Rob Burrow, however, it was a fitting moment: faced with a devastating diagnosis, he decided to defiantly show the world what life with Motor Neurone Disease is really like, raising awareness and financial support for a disease that few people knew about.

But even before his MND campaign, Rob was a legendary figure in the rugby world, playing his entire career with Leeds Rhinos and being adored by the fans.

Last night they arrived in Headingley within hours of the announcement of his death, leaving flowers, photographs, shirts and cards.

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Jamie Jones-Buchanan was among those who paid tribute to his former teammate Rob Burrow

Rob's influence extends beyond rugby league, however – not only to the wider sporting world, where he made contacts with other MND activists such as footballers Stephen Darby and Marcus Stewart, but also to wider society.

His face and legacy are everywhere: on the wall outside Seacroft Hospital where a new MND centre is being built, on a mural outside Leeds Beckett University and, of course, in the Hall of Fame in Headingley.

I think the people of Yorkshire took Rob Burrow to their hearts because he gave them hope in what seemed a desperate situation.

He taught us to live and love with purpose even in the greatest adversity.