Tragic new details emerge after death of Dustin Martin's father

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Shane Martin, pictured here celebrating Dustin's win in the 2019 AFL grand final.
Dustin Martin is mourning the tragic death of his father Shane. Image: AAP/Getty

The biographer of Shane Martin's book has shared heartbreaking new details surrounding the death of the father of AFL star Dustin Martin.

Shane died earlier this month in New Zealand at the age of 54.

While the cause of death has not been made public, NZ Police said they attended a property on the street on which Mr Martin lived, where a man was found dead.

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

On Monday, Dr Jarrod Gilbert - who co-wrote Mr Martin's biography ‘A Rebel in Exile' and became close with the family - said he recently shared a phone call with Shane’s wife.

Dr Gilbert told the NZ Herald that Mr Martin was found “face down on his kitchen floor” after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Shane had been living in his native New Zealand since 2016 after being deported from Australia on character grounds.

Dr Gilbert said Shane had been "worn down" by living away from his three sons Dustin, Bronson and Tyson.

“People who met Shane for the first time were immediately disarmed by him,” he wrote in the NZ Herald.

“They liked him and were drawn to him. He was warm, friendly and generous. He kept a drawer full of lollies for kids who visited his house.

“He also carried the burden of great bitterness; a bitterness that ate away at him.

“A bitterness that stabbed at him from the moment he woke, chased him throughout the day and invaded his dreams at night.”

Shane Martin, pictured here with actress Rachel Griffiths in New Zealand after the Richmond Tigers won the AFL grand final in 2019.
Shane Martin with actress Rachel Griffiths in New Zealand after the Richmond Tigers won the AFL grand final in 2019. (AAP Image/Brett Phibbs)

Shane Martin's heartache at being away from his sons

Mr Martin was previously a top-ranking member of the Rebels motorcycle gang and had his visa cancelled under section 501 of the Australian Immigration Act, which states people can be deported if they have a "substantial" criminal record.

Richmond gave Dustin 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.”

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

He was forced to watch Dustin 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," he 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.”

Mr Martin had previously renounced his connection to the Rebels bikie gang and slammed government officials in Australia.

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