A tribute to late PNG star Kato Ottio

FORMER RAIDER DIES AT JUST 23

Super League club, Widnes Vikings, confirmed the sad news.

PNG Rugby Football League chairman Sandis Tsaka said Ottio had died in hospital in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby.

"He passed away early this morning - he was a great guy and I'm just devastated".

Widnes said they have been inundated by thousands of heartfelt messages from people across the world, adding they want to do everything they can to celebrate Ottio's life.

Albert was due to fly to England with Ottio on Thursday to take up his contract with Widnes but is now set to delay his departure as he comes to terms with the tragic news that rocked the game of rugby league.

"He could have become a real hero with our supporters with the way he played", chief executive James Rule said.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says Kato Ottio's death "knocked me for six".

He became an instant star in 2016 with Raiders feeder club, the Mounties in the New South Wales Cup, scoring in nearly every match he played in, earning himself another year with the team.

"But Kato told a few of the players "let's run back" - he wanted to use the professionalism he gained from his time at Canberra to rub off on his younger countrymen".

"This news is all the more tragic, because Kato was due to travel to the United Kingdom this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league", he said on the team's website.

"All of us saw at the World Cup the incredible gifts that Kato had, and his potential to forge a great career in Rugby League".

'It's hard to believe because we had just got bedding and other things like crockery today for the place where he and Wellington were going to live.

"We had been in regular contact with Kato and were excited to welcome a bright, excited and passionate young man, who had genuine potential for the future".

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