'Left heartbroken': Jacinda Barclay's tragic death felt across the world

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Jacinda Barclay was a popular member of the Chicago Bliss in American football.
Jacinda Barclay's teammates say they'll never forget her impact on their lives. Pic: Instagram

Jacinda Barclay's former coach and American football teammates have expressed their grief over the 29-year-old's tragic death and opened up about how the popular Aussie star touched their lives.

Barclay - who represented Australia at five baseball World Cups - died in the Perth suburb of Chidlow on Monday afternoon.

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Her family said on Wednesday her memory would be a "beacon" for all sportswomen.

"She was a shining comet that soared through this world casting her radiant light of love on all she met," Barclay's family said in a statement.

"Though that comet has now shattered into a million pieces, the memory of it will remain a beacon for all women in high profile sports to strive to excel, to dare to be great while staying humble and proud."

WA Police are not treating Barclay's death as suspicious.

The Australian sporting community was rocked by news of Barclay's passing, with social media inundated with tributes to the Australian baseball, AFLW and American football star.

However, the impact of her death was felt right across the world, with Barclay a loveable figure in American football during her time with the Chicago Bliss in the Lingerie Football League (LFL).

Former Bliss coach Keith Hac recruited the Aussie star after becoming aware of her sporting prowess on a practice field in 2013.

Barclay didn't end up making her debut in the LFL for another three years, but led the Bliss to a title in her only season after replacing Heather Furr as the team's quarterback.

Hac said while Barclay's stint in American football was brief, it will never be forgotten.

"As a coach, you have players come and go. Some you may run into years later and not be able to remember their names because they honestly did not have much of an impact with you on or off the field," Hac wrote in a touching tribute to Barclay on Facebook.

Pictured here, Chicago Bliss coach Keith Hac and Jacinda Barclay.
Barclay's former Chicago Bliss coach Keith Hac says the Aussie's infectious personality brighten the lives of those around her. Pic: Getty/Instagram

"Others however have an impact that you will never forget. They may have been amazing on the field or such an incredible person off that you never forget them. Jacinda was both.

"She left behind a team of players and coaches that would forever love her for all she brought to us. To this day we still share so many funny stories about her.

"We never saw her again but stayed in contact via Facebook. Through her posts, we saw she was still as crazy and full of life as ever.

"Her sudden death leaves us all heartbroken and wondering why with no real explanation. How can someone as full of life, love and happiness as she seemed to have, be so sad on the inside? Now we are all left heartbroken and wondering why."

‘The world has lost the brightest light’

Hac's sentiments have been echoed by former teammates at the Bliss such as Deena Fagiano, who praised her "infectious" energy and inspirational nature.

"The world has lost the brightest light, most badass athlete, and amazing friend," she wrote in a tribute to Barclay on Instagram.

"I am honoured to have had you in my life and play along side you. Your energy was infectious and I will always be inspired by your determination.

"Your bravery to travel around the world to lead a team you had never met always continues to impress me and I will always have incredible respect for you.

"You always always made me laugh by doing some goofy 'Aussie' something and I will continue to hold on to those memories forever!"

Another former Bliss teammate Kayla Lee provided a tragic insight into her life and said the 29-year-old was "fighting demons none of us knew about".

“You never really know what someone is going through. This morning I woke up to the devastating news that we had lost one of the most vibrant, positive and spirited souls on this planet.

“Cinda has been one of my closest friends since we met 7 years ago training and playing in the LFL. She was my quarterback and always had my back. We trained hard, laughed hard and sometimes partied hard together.

“She was a naturally talented multi-sport athlete, who was driven, ambitious and a leader that was fighting demons none of us knew about. I am absolutely heartbroken and in complete shock.”

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