This year has been a devastating one for Australian sport, with some of the nation's most loved icons passing away - many before their time.
Paul Green's tragic death on Thursday was another heartbreaking blow for the Australian sporting community, with his family and the rugby league world struggling to come to terms with the news.
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The 49-year-old was found unresponsive at his home in Brisbane on Thursday, with police confirming there were no suspicious circumstances in his death.
Reports later confirmed that Green 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.
It was just three months ago that Green was attending the funeral of another beloved Aussie sporting legend, Andrew Symonds.
The Aussie cricket icon died in May at the age of 46 after his car left the road and rolled in Hervey Range, about 50km from Townsville in northern Queensland.
Symonds and Green were good mates who shared a love of sport and fishing, with the pair often chatting at length about cricket and rugby league.
In fact, Symonds would sometimes turn up to training sessions at the Brisbane Broncos, where Green took up a role on Wayne Bennett's coaching staff after ending his NRL career with the club in 2004.
Symonds was captain of the Brisbane Bulls cricket team at the time and the pair struck up a lasting friendship.
The pair featured together in a cricket exhibition match in 2014 when Symonds captained the Bulls Masters team, with both men remarking on their time together.
One photo of Green with his arms wrapped around Symonds was captioned: “Got to bat with my good mate Roy. Had a good day with #bulls masters @mands_green.”
Symonds also posted after the game: “Little Pauly Green did himself proud in the Bulls Masters this weekend. Go well with the new job champ, I can feel some silverware.”
The job Symonds was referring to was Green's appointment as Cowboys coach in 2014.
Incredibly, the late cricket icon's prediction came true the following year as Green helped deliver North Queensland its inaugural NRL premiership in 2015.
Green and Symonds also bonded over their love of fishing, with shots of their prized catches plastered across their pages on social media.
Speaking on Fox Sports News on Thursday, News Corp journalist Robert Craddock reflected on the bond between the loveable Aussie sporting icons.
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“He (Green) came up to Andrew Symonds’ funeral in Townsville, and sat in the second back row, I remember casting my eye over him,” Craddock said.
“He was really devastated because he loved Symonds’ free spirit. And Symonds would turn up to Cowboys games and chat to Greeny, they were an interesting combination.
“He loved the larrikin element of Andrew Symonds, did Paul Green, and was really devastated by his death because they just talk footy, they could talk fishing, they could talk life.
"Andrew had friends from all around the place and Paul Green was definitely one of them.
“It’s funny, at that service for Symonds, it was such a blur because it was so emotional but I can still remember Paul Green’s face, he was really shattered.”
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 that maiden premiership in 2015.
"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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