Gold Coast Titans star AJ Brimson has shed light on the anxious search for Liam Hampson in the hours after he went missing while on holiday in Barcelona.
Hampson, who played hooker for the Redcliffe Dolphins, hadn't been seen for 30 hours after entering a nightclub with a group of NRL players, who soon raised the alarm.
In a tragic turn, nightclub staff discovered his body in a disused area of the venue, with Hampson believed to have fallen from an upper balcony to his death after getting lost.
The 24-year-old's family have requested attendees of his funeral on Monday dress casually in bright colours, wearing Birkenstock sandals if they choose, believing that is what Hampson would have wanted.
Brimson said the ordeal and Hampson's fate was 'heartbreaking' in an interview with the Courier Mail, declaring he would dedicate the rest of his rugby league career to his friend.
The Titans star detailed the group's attempts to report Hampson as missing to local authorities, alarmed that he hadn't gotten in touch with them the next day.
The group had issues communicating the seriousness of their concerns, even going so far as contacting the Australian embassy in Spain.
“I knew what he was like and he wasn’t the type of guy that wouldn’t message us, but it was hard to get that across to the police. It was frustrating," Brimson said.
“We were trying to tell the police something was wrong and they were saying, ‘We see this all the time, people go missing but they’re just with a girl or something’.
“At worst he would have messaged us. If he got mugged he would have found his way back. I thought he had been murdered.
“We knew it wasn’t good, but just hoped he was all right somewhere. We walked the same route home trying to find something, anything.
“We went back to the club at about 5pm to try and get footage to see who he left with and when, but they wouldn’t let us see it before the cops.
“It’s weird to think we were outside the club and he was in there, but we had no way of knowing that.”
It's been revealed that the body of Queensland rugby league player Liam Hampson was found inside a patio that was closed off to patrons as his family now prepares to return his body home. #Sunriseon7
📍 DETAILS: https://t.co/Wt6eUhhBEq pic.twitter.com/SR6F1xDbhb
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) October 20, 2022
AJ Brimson shattered after death of close friend Liam Hampson
Brimson also detailed how he and Hampson were once housemates, fondly recalling both good times shared and their squabbles.
“There’s been so many times already where I’ve gone to message him … that’s been the most heartbreaking thing,” Brimson said.
“We can never do those things together or share them anymore. He was determined with his footy but also a happy guy. He was never stressed.
“We lived together for four years and bickered and sooked like brothers, but when he moved out I kept asking him every weekend to move back in. He was such a good mate.
“I’m going to miss him like crazy. We’ve got a tight bunch of boys and he was one of my best mates. I’m going to miss him a lot.”
At the Rugby League World Cup, Kangaroos players wore black arm bands during their clash with Scotland in Coventry and observed a minute's silence before the game.
In heartbreaking scenes, Isaah Yeo could be seen wiping away a tear after the minute's silence.
The Kangaroos were told of Hampson's death when they arrived in Coventry on Wednesday.
Front-rower Patrick Carrigan, who was close friends with Hampson, played the match against Scotland in the late player's honour.
"He is comfortable with that (playing at the moment)," coach Mal Meninga said ahead of the match.
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