The football community in Australia is in mourning over the tragic news that former Socceroo Darren Stewart has died at the age of 52.
Predominantly a defender, Stewart earned three caps for Australia, making his debut for the Socceroos in 1992.
Stewart enjoyed stints with APIA Leichhardt and the Newcastle Breakers in Australia’s National Soccer League (NSL) before continuing his career in Malaysia.
Newcastle Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna is among those in the football community to pay their respects Stewart, who temporarily moved in with his family after signing for APIA.
“He was a great player, one of the hardest, toughest defenders-come-midfield players running about the league.
“He had a great career and he played three games with the Socceroos, which he thoroughly deserved because I actually thought he deserved more — but obviously I wasn’t the coach.
Stewart’s most recent job in football was as head coach of the Maldives national team.
“It’s such a shame that somebody at a young age — he was only 52 … it’s just sad that somebody so young dies,” McKinna added.
News of Stewart’s death has led to an outpouring of grief on social media.
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) October 19, 2018
So shocked to hear of the passing of Darren Stewart. Wonderful player, great servant of the game and really good guy. Prayers are with his family and friends
— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) October 19, 2018
Shocked by the news that Darren Stewart has passed away. Legend
— ء (@hamzahzahari) October 19, 2018
@NewcastleJetsFC My big pal Darren Stewart having a laugh reading my book. He was a great player a great friend and he will always be my big pal. My thoughts to his family who are my Australian Mum and Dads and brothers and Sisters RIP pal pic.twitter.com/ZoNjTrIvMH
— Lawrie McKinna (@LawrieMcKinna) October 19, 2018
The Jets also paid their respects to Stewart’s family in a heartfelt statement.
“The Newcastle Jets are saddened to hear of the passing of former Newcastle Breaker and Socceroo, Darren Stewart,” the Jets said in the statement.
“On behalf of the footballing community, the club would like to pass on its condolences to Darren’s family during this difficult time.”
The Newcastle Jets are saddened to hear of the passing of former Newcastle Breaker and Socceroo, Darren Stewart. On behalf of the footballing community, the Club would like to pass on its condolences to Darren’s family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/wJQQwOypNX
— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) October 19, 2018
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