Adam Treloar has expressed his regret about not reaching out to Danny Frawley upon hearing of his mental health battle.
Frawley, who bravely spoke out in recent years about his mental health issues, died on Monday when the ute he was driving hit a tree near Ballarat.
No one else was in the car at the time.
Collingwood star Treloar, who opened up about his own issues with anxiety recently, expressed his sadness about Frawley’s death on Fox Footy on Tuesday night.
Treloar revealed his devastation at not picking up the phone and calling Frawley when the AFL legend spoke out about his own demons.
“I listened to that ‘Sacked’ podcast and I actually listened to Danny Frawley’s one two weeks ago,” Treloar said on AFL 360.
“I remember when I listened to it and I really didn’t know how bad his mental health was and how much he struggled — and that’s because I just didn’t know the guy.
“When I was listening to him talk, in that moment I wanted to meet him, I wanted to ring him, I wanted to chat to him.
“I was so shy, I just wish I had enough balls to call him and have a chat to him.
“You can never foresee what’s going to happen and anticipate that this was going to happen. My heart goes out to him because I know he had his struggles — he spoke about his struggles — and I well and truly have my struggles.
“When I heard about this it is something I can relate to. My heart just goes out to him. I’m just lost. I feel so sorry for his family.”
Family’s heartbreaking tribute to Frawley
The family of the Frawley released a statement thanking the wider community for their support on Tuesday.
Frawley is survived by his wife Anita and their three daughters, Chelsea, Danielle and Keeley, along with his mother and five siblings.
Family members said they were shocked and devastated by his death but reflected on his love for his family and his work to support those suffering mental health issues.
"The Frawley families are totally shocked and devastated by his passing, but Danny provided us with strength, good humour and unwavering support during his extraordinary life, memories which will be cherished and help us cope with his tragic death," the statement read.
"Danny made friends from all walks of life. He had a smile that would light up a room, an infectious laugh and an easy charm that made people feel good about themselves. He genuinely liked and cared about people and they loved him back.
"Danny was to all who knew him a caring, loyal, selfless, loving person who would always put others first before himself and, aside from his work in football and media, he worked hard to use his profile to remove the stigma associated with depression and encouraged acceptance and support for those who suffered with mental health issues."
Frawley made his mark on the AFL in a number of roles, including as St Kilda captain, Richmond coach and, more recently, as a media personality.
The family had been "overwhelmed" by community support.
"We would like to sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of love and kindness at this time," the statement said.
"We are overwhelmed by the messages of support following his death. We are humbled, proud and incredibly touched."