Veteran Channel Nine newsreader Peter Overton has delivered an impassioned on-air address in the wake of NRL icon Paul Green's tragic death on Thursday.
In news that rocked the rugby league world, Green was found unresponsive at his home in Brisbane on Thursday, with police confirming there were no suspicious circumstances in his death.
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Heartbreaking reports later confirmed that the 49-year-old had taken his own life, just one day after his son's ninth birthday.
A spokesperson for Queensland police said: “Police were called to a Wynnum residence just after 10am this morning after a 49-year-old was located unresponsive.
“He was declared deceased by emergency crews a short time later. There are no suspicious circumstances. A report will be prepared for the coroner.”
Green is survived by his wife Amanda and their children Emerson and Jed.
Following a story about the tragedy on Nine News on Thursday night, Overton made an appeal to any viewers who might be struggling with their mental health to speak to someone and seek help.
“If you are struggling with your mental health, please talk to someone,” he started. “Ask, ‘Are you OK?’
“Take a friend for a coffee, a walk; confide in your GP.
“Share your feelings with your family.
“Just talk to someone. You might be surprised how many people you know have the same struggles.
“You are not alone.
“One of the best places you can call is Lifeline. They are there to listen, they are there to help.”
Sydney radio presenter Gus Worland - who also founded mental health charity Gotcha4Life - echoed Overton's message during an interview with the network about Green's death.
“It was so sad to hear this morning about Greeny,” Worland said.
“This is a line in the sand moment for us as sport and us as a nation to say, ‘Enough is enough’.
“Let’s stop talking about awareness, let’s put some action into place.
“It’s all about manning up and speaking up now, Not manning up and shutting up, which is what we’ve been told all our lives to do.
“This is an opportunity to build some emotional muscle, put you hand up if you need some help and support. That’s the bravest thing you can do.
“Why are we so good in this country at helping people, but not good at asking for help?
“It’s so brave to be vulnerable.”
Nation rocked by Paul Green tragedy
According to reports, friends of Green said he was in 'perfect health' before his death and had undergone recent health checks.
“Today we are devastated,” a statement from Green's family said.
“We have lost a devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son. We cannot find the words that would come close to expressing our feeling, however we would like to extend our thanks to those who have reached out to us with their love and support.
“Paul was loved by so many and we know that this news will generate immense interest, however at this time we ask for privacy.
“Our family is still trying to understand this tragedy and we request space and time as we come to terms with this loss. Thank you.”
Green played 162 first grade games across five different clubs as a halfback, five-eighth and hooker while also playing 10 State of Origins for Queensland (three of which came during Super League in 1997).
He won the 1995 Rothmans Medal as the league’s best and fairest player.
But he will forever be remembered as the man who helped guide North Queensland to their maiden premiership in 2015.
In total, he was in charge of the Cowboys in 167 games as coach, with the 2015 title coming in just his second season as head coach.
"Paul first came to our club as a player in the late 90s and was the club’s first Origin representative, but his lasting legacy emanated from his seven-season tenure as head coach of the North Queensland Cowboys,” said club chairman Lewis Ramsay.
“Paul’s arrival as head coach transformed our club from finals contenders to an immediate premiership force, culminating in the historic 2015 grand final victory.
“We will forever remember Paul as one of the greatest contributors in Cowboys history.”
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