Dustin Martin rocked by tragic death of father Shane in New Zealand

Dustin Martin, pictured here in action for Richmond.
Dustin Martin is mourning the tragic death of his father Shane. Image: Getty/AAP

The Richmond Football Club has announced the tragic death of Dustin Martin's father Shane at the age of 54.

Shane had been living in New Zealand since 2016 after being deported from Australia.

'LOST HIS WAY': AFL great torches cringe-worthy Richmond star

SAD: Heartbreaking blow for AFL legend after Covid-19 diagnosis

The circumstances surrounding his death are not yet known.

“The club extends its heartfelt sympathy to Dustin, his brothers Bronson and Tyson and the entire Martin family,” a statement from Richmond read.

"We ask the media to respect Dustin and the Martin family's privacy in this extremely difficult time."

New Zealand Police said they went to a property on the street on which Shane Martin lived, where a man was found dead.

Police said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Dustin Martin is a three-time premiership player and Norm Smith Medallist, and widely-regarded as one of the greatest to play the game.

However earlier this year he said his one big regret centres around his father's absence for the biggest moments of his career.

Richmond gave Martin permission to fly overseas to visit his father in April when the travel bubble opened.

The pair shared a close bond but had not seen each other for 12 months prior to that visit because of travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a massive challenge, but it is what it is,” Martin said in March.

“I love my dad and he’s made me the man I am today. I’ve got full belief he’ll back here to watch us win another flag.

“That’s my dream to be able to have the old man up there (in the grandstand) with the rest of my family and watch the Tiges win another flag.”

Shane Martin, pictured here watching the 2019 AFL grand final in New Zealand.
Shane Martin watches the 2019 AFL grand final in New Zealand. (AAP Image/Brett Phibbs)

Shane Martin's anger at being denied entry into Australia

Shane Martin was deported from Australia on the basis of bad character due to his previous association with a bikie gang.

In February of 2020, Shane was sent back to New Zealand after flying to Sydney and being detained by Border Force officials.

He was forced to watch his son win the 2019 and 2020 premierships from New Zealand.

“It's pretty hard to see it on TV when I should be there, really, but that's another story," Shane said last year.

“It's still a proud moment but I would have loved to be there, but yeah, you know, it is what it is, don’t want to take the moment away from it.”

Home Affair Minister Peter Dutton previously defended the decision to ban Mr Martin from the country.

“Part of the reason that we kick out people with severe criminal histories, like Mr Martin, is we want to make sure that people don't commit crimes again in our country,” Dutton said last year.

“We have now cancelled the visas of about 5000 people, many of them involved in outlaw motorcycle gangs, who are the biggest distributors of amphetamines, ice in our country, destroying lives.

“It's a very clear message that if you come to our country as a Kiwi, a US citizen, as citizen of anywhere else in the world and you commit crimes in our country, you can expect to be deported.”

Shane Martin had renounced his connection to the Rebels bikie gang and bemoaned his inability to live in Australia.

“They respect what I’m fighting for and vice versa. It sh*ts me that you can't keep in contact with people who have been a big part of your life,” he said.

“I met some really good, respectful people, I don't regret it.

"It sort of annoys me how people look down on bikies, or clubbies. They do have morals, respect and loyalty.”

with AAP

Readers seeking support and information can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.