The AFLW community has been left shocked and devastated after news of the sudden death of Adelaide premiership-winning player, Heather Anderson.
The Adelaide AFLW club released a statement on Monday confirming Anderson's tragic passing at the age of 28, offering its condolences to her family and friends.
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No further details were provided around the cause of the Crows' premiership star's death.
“The Adelaide Football Club is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Premiership player Heather Anderson. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends,” the statement read.
The Adelaide Football Club is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Premiership player Heather Anderson. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. pic.twitter.com/4aUz8GZ8p7
— Adelaide Crows AFLW (@CrowsAFLW) November 14, 2022
Anderson was taken with the 10th pick overall in the inaugural AFLW draft in 2016, and she went on to play eight games in the Crows' premiership-winning campaign of 2017.
The tough defender dislocated her right shoulder in the grand final win over Brisbane, forcing her to have a second reconstruction in the space of a year.
The Crows delisted her ahead of the 2018 season, and Anderson never played again at AFLW level.
Anderson became somewhat of a cult hero for wearing a pink helmet in games. She later explained it was to help her vision-impaired mother spot her on the field.
"She hated watching me get smashed and she couldn't really see me play in the field," Anderson told Mamamia in 2017.
"I hated pink and anything girly, so she would joke, 'Maybe if you spray painted your helmet pink, I'd come and watch you play'.
"So I bought one in a sports shop as a joke and said, 'now I've got one you've gotta come watch me play'. It just sort of went from there."
Tributes pour in after Heather Anderson's tragic death
AFL Players' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said: "All at the AFLPA extend our deepest sympathies to Heather's family, friends and all of those people who worked and played alongside her at Adelaide.
"This is a terribly sad time and we will offer whatever services and support Heather's family, former teammates and the Adelaide Football club may need during this tough time."
AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone added: “Words cannot express the deep sadness amongst the AFL and AFLW community at this time. Our sincerest condolences are to the Anderson family.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to express my deepest compassion to Heather’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Aside from her AFLW career, Anderson spent time as a medic in the Australian Defence Force, with tributes pouring in across social media, following the news of her tragic death.
— Fergus McLachlan, AO (@FMcL2020) November 14, 2022
Tragic news regarding Heather Anderson. May she Rest In Peace. Condolences to her family, her loved ones, the Adelaide Football Club, and the AFLW community as a whole.
— Caspar McLeod (@CasparMcleod) November 14, 2022
— Gold Coast Suns (@GoldCoastSUNS) November 14, 2022
Saddened to hear of ex-Adelaide Crow Heather Anderson’s unexpected passing. Was an absolute star whose commitment/work ethic was almost unmatched but injuries cut her AFLW career short. RIPhttps://t.co/pKdQNvwqfE
— Marc McGowan 🗣✍️👨🏻💻📰 (@ByMarcMcGowan) November 14, 2022
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