Rob Burrow: Leeds Rhinos star 'left messages for his children' before MND death, his wife says

Former rugby league star turned motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner Rob Burrow recorded a series of messages for his children before he died, his wife has said.

Lindsey Burrow said the messages will be played at special moments in their lives as they grow up.

Ahead of a tribute to him by his former club Leeds Rhinos on Friday, Lindsey Burrow revealed her husband looked to the future in his final message, in which he said: "I hope one day we find a cure and live in a world free of MND.

"By the time that you watch this, I will no longer be here. Rob Burrow over and out."

She said the message "teaches us all to live in the moment, to be brave" and said Burrow "lived by every word".

Mrs Burrow became emotional when discussing the messages her husband left their children on his eye-gaze machine, that she has yet to listen to.

"I know Rob has left messages on there for the children. At the minute, it's too raw to do that, to go and look through machines, but there are birthday messages on there, there are messages for the children in the future."

Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019, barely two years after ending his stellar playing career, and died earlier this month at the age of 41 after a four-and-a-half-year battle with the degenerative disease.

The Great Britain and England player is survived by Lindsey and children Macy, Maya and Jackson.

Speaking to Sky News shortly after his diagnosis, he said: "I'm a lot better, I'm feeling positive and just ready to take it on."

Ms Burrow said the support and tributes that were paid to Rob after his death were "overwhelming" and a personal message from Prince William "really sticks out".

She said it was "really heartwarming, really sincere, and that's something that we will treasure as a family forever."

William met Burrow, and his former teammate Kevin Sinfield, at Headingley, Leeds, in January, where the prince surprised them by making the pair CBEs for services to MND awareness.

Mrs Burrow called it "a day that we'll remember and treasure forever and to get that message from Prince William has given us a lot of comfort and will always have a special place in my heart."

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At the time, Sinfield had raised more than £15m since his friend was diagnosed with MND.

Burrow's campaigning and bravery are often compared to the Scottish rugby union player Doddie Weir, who died from MND aged 52 in 2022.

Leeds Rhinos, where Burrow spent his entire career, winning eight Super League titles, will stage a tribute to him before Friday's home match at Headingley against Leigh Leopards.

A capacity crowd is expected on what is Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day.

Earlier, the club announced it had parted company with head coach Rohan Smith, who "will step down with immediate effect".