Adelaide Crows star Rory Sloane and wife Belinda have shared the heartbreaking news that their first child was stillborn.
The couple had announced the pregnancy in April, right as Sloane weighed up his AFL future.
On Thursday afternoon, Channel 7 presenter Belinda revealed the tragic news about their baby boy.
“Last week we said goodbye to our beautiful little man,” she wrote on Instagram.
“Leo Rory Sloane was born into the world still, but perfect.
“Thanks for making us the proudest parents and filling our hearts with love beyond measure, the moments we had with you are now beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.”
Sloane, who had managed foot injuries throughout the year, withdrew from the Crows’ final game of the season last weekend to be with his family.
“The Adelaide Football Club confirms Rory Sloane will not play against Carlton tonight due to a private family matter,” the club had said on Saturday night.
“The club asks that the privacy of Rory, his wife Belinda and their families is respected at this time.”
Sloane’s teammates wore black armbands in the 104-point victory as a mark of respect.
Sloane was due to become a free agent at the end of the season and had been chased by clubs in Victoria.
He eschewed a return to his home state when he re-signed with Adelaide in July.
“I was really comfortable with where we were at the whole time and had constant talks with the footy club,” Sloane said.
“We just needed some time to think about things outside of football. My fiancée, Belinda, and I just needed to make sure we were right with every possibility and every element that comes up over the next few years.”
Tributes have poured in from Crows and AFL fans alike, with Sloane’s footy club leading the way:
Heart goes out to the Sloane's today, RIP little one x
— Tamara (@TimTamsOG) August 30, 2018
Sometimes life can give you everything, and in the next breathe take it all away…. my heart is broken for Rory and Bel Sloane…. such sad sad news.
— Damien Manning (@DTLP2012) August 30, 2018
Feeling for the Sloane’s right now. Life is not fair. ♥️
— Andy P (@DeAndyPip) August 30, 2018
The world is a terribly cruel place sometimes!
Just so incredibly sad for Belinda and Rory Sloane.
My heart truly breaks for them.
There are just no words to describe that pain nor comfort it but we send them love and strength at this difficult time!
— Lisa Lemon 🍋💛 (@LisaLemon09) August 30, 2018