'It hurts': Sam Burgess breaks down over devastating family tragedy

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Sam Burgess, pictured here breaking down on SAS Australia.
Sam Burgess broke down on SAS Australia. Image: Channel 7

Sam Burgess has opened up about his father's tragic death, breaking down over the fact he never got to see his sons play professionally together.

Burgess was brought to tears while discussing his late father on Channel 7 reality show SAS Australia on Tuesday night.

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The 32-year-old, who has been one of the frontrunners on the gruelling show, was asked by the SAS staff where he gets his drive and work ethic from.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs champion then revealed the lessons his father taught him before he died when Burgess was just 17.

“I guess my work ethic comes from my dad,” Burgess said.

“He was just a hard grafter. I’ll never forget when we were kids, we dug the cellar out of our house where we grew up. He was sweating, sweating so much. 

"I said ‘Dad, why are you sweating so much’. He said: ‘son, when you do the job properly, you sweat'. 

"I was only a young kid then but it stuck with me for the rest of my life. But that’s where my work ethic comes from, just do the job properly.

“He was just a good man. He was just a really good man. He had four boys and was just kind and he was tough and he was just a great man. 

"We lost him when I was a bit younger which was sad but he taught me enough before he passed away to carry on my life.”

Sam Burgess, pictured here with his brothers and mother in 2013.
Sam Burgess (far right) with brothers Tom, George and Luke and mother Julie in 2013. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Burgess' father Mark, who also played rugby league, died in 2006 after a battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

“Crap disease, it’s awful,” Burgess said.

“It’s pretty demoralising. Your muscles sort of eat away and everything just stops - you become just a body, really with the same mind. Everything just stopped until he passed away.

“He actually passed away while coming to watch me play. I played first team for Bradford in 2006, made my debut at 17. 

"I told him not to come because I’d worry about him in the stand when I wasn’t with him. It was freezing and I knew he was deteriorating. 

"Anyway, I saw him in the crowd. I started shaking my head, I was laughing that he got his way to the game through one of the parents. And he was freezing cold and from that night on he was in hospital for a couple of weeks and he passed away a couple of weeks after that."

Sam Burgess breaks down discussing his father's death

Burgess then broke down as he lamented the fact his father never got to see the majority of his four sons' rugby league careers.

“One of the biggest things that hurts me in life is he never saw my brothers play professionally," Burgess said.

"At that age, you just never know how far they’re going to get in their careers and they’ve all gone on to have wonderful careers. 

"It’s one of the biggest things that hurts me – he never seeing us all play together.

“My dad was a pretty amazing man, he was pretty heroic.

“I spent every day with dad. I’d carry him up the stairs at night. I would help him in and out of the bath. It was a very pivotal time in my life.“

Sam's brothers Luke, Tom and George have all played Super League in the UK and NRL in Australia.

The four brothers all played together at South Sydney when they first arrived in Australia.

Burgess retired from rugby league in 2019 due to a debilitating shoulder injury.

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