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AFLW rocked by tragic death of Heather Anderson at 28: 'Lost too young'

The AFLW community has been rocked by the sudden death of Adelaide premiership winner Heather Anderson at the age of 28. Pic: Twitter
The AFLW community has been rocked by the sudden death of Adelaide premiership winner Heather Anderson at the age of 28. Pic: Twitter

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.

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."

Seen here, Adelaide AFLW player Heather Anderson looks to pass the ball during a round four clash against Fremantle in 2017.
Adelaide AFLW player Heather Anderson looks to pass the ball during a round four clash against Fremantle in 2017. Pic: Getty (Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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.

Readers seeking support and information about mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

with AAP

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