AFL world rocked by tragic death of Cam McCarthy at 29 as tributes flow for former star

McCarthy played 70 games and kicked 99 goals during a seven-year stint in the AFL.

The AFL world has been left shocked and saddened by the news former Fremantle Dockers and GWS Giants forward Cam McCarthy has died at the age of 29. It's understood paramedics were called to a Lake Coogee address in Perth’s south just after 6pm on Thursday night, where they found McCarthy unresponsive. His death is not being treated a suspicious.

The former Dockers and Giants star kicked 99 goals across a seven-year career for both clubs, and played 70 games in the AFL after being taken by GWS with pick 14 in the 2013 draft. McCarthy only managed one game in his debut season for the Giants but enjoyed a breakout season in 2015 that saw him kick 35 goals from 20 games.

Pictured here, former Fremantle and GWS AFL star Cam McCarthy.
Former Fremantle and GWS star Cam McCarthy's death at 29 has rocked the AFL. Pic: Getty

Despite being contracted with GWS until the 2017 season, the West Australian requested a trade to return to his home state in 2016 but the move was blocked by the Giants at the time. McCarthy eventually took an indefinite break from the game due to mental health reasons and moved back to WA in 2016 but did not feature in the AFL at all that season.

GWS eventually agreed grant McCarthy his trade request and he moved to Fremantle for the 2017 season. He went on to feature in 49 AFL games across four seasons and booted 63 goals for Fremantle across that period. McCarthy's first two seasons saw him become a regular starter in the Docker side, but he only played 12 games in his third season and then just one in 2020 before quitting mid-season.

Fremantle said at the time that McCathy and the club had come to a mutual agreement to end his time at the club and he went on to feature for South Fremantle in the WAFL. However, the towering former forward's stay at South Fremantle did not last long and he walked out on the club after an underwhelming display in the first game of the 2021 season.


News of McCarthy's death comes as another tragic blow to the Fremantle club, with the 29-year-old becoming the third former Dockers star to die before the age of 30, in the past six years. Harley Balic died in 2022 and was a teammate of McCarthy’s in 2017, while Shane Yarran passed away in 2018.

The devastating development will leave a sombre cloud over Fremantle's home game against the Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium on Friday night. Several former teammates of McCarthy's such as Alex Pearce, Michael Walters and duel Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe are set to feature in the match and emotions will be high.

Seen here, former Fremantle teammates Nat Fyfe and Cam McCarthy high-fiving during an AFL game in 2018.
Former Fremantle teammates Nat Fyfe and Cam McCarthy give each other a high-five during an AFL game in 2018. Pic: Getty

AFL reporter Tom Morris has confirmed players will wear black armbands in tribute for the former Fremantle player at Optus Stadium on Friday night, as the AFL world mourns the 29-year-old's passing. Tributes have been pouring in across social media as fans and former players come to terms with the shock tragedy.

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