Rugby league world in mourning after tragic death of cult hero Kyle White

Tributes are pouring in for the former Canterbury, Western Suburbs and Illawarra Steelers forward.

Kyle White, pictured here in action for the Bulldogs and Magpies.
Kyle White in action for the Bulldogs and Magpies. Images: Twitter

The rugby league community has been rocked by the tragic death of former Canterbury, Western Suburbs and Illawarra Steelers forward Kyle White. The 53-year-old's brother announced the devastating news on social media on Tuesday, revealing he died in his sleep at his Penrith home.

“It’s with a very heavy heart that I inform everyone that my brother Kyle passed away this morning. As most people know he has been dealing with some issues of late but it doesn’t make it any easier,” Josh White, who also played for Wests and Illawarra, posted on Facebook.

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“He was my idol growing up and we played at all the same NRL clubs and were inseparable through our younger years. Hopefully he finds peace now and the hurting has stopped.

“He was a tough player on the field and knew how to have a good time off it. We have had a lot of ups and downs over the years but he is my brother and (I) will always love him.”

White played 24 first grade games at the Bulldogs between 1989 and 1991. He made 34 appearances for the Western Suburbs Magpies from 1992 to 1995, before a further nine games for the Steelers in 1996.

He also played for Widnes and Workington Town in England in a professional career that spanned 10 years. White gained a cult following for a number of monster hits he produced on opposition players, despite being one of the smaller prop forwards going around.

Rugby league world rocked by death of Kyle White

"It's very sad," White's brother told Wide World of Sports. "He had his demons but was getting on top of them.

"He was a very brave and tough player in a tough era and never took a backward step. His teammates loved him because they knew they could always count on him to give his all."

Workington Town's Twitter account wrote: "We’re so sorry to hear of the passing of Kyle White. Kyle was a fearsome sight with and without the rugby ball and a great character to have around the club. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

In 2019, Josh pleaded for help to find Kyle after his brother had been reported missing. Kyle was later found wandering the streets of Warwick in southeast Queensland and appeared to be homeless.

The devastating news of White's death comes after South Sydney legend John Sattler passed away at age 80 on Monday. Widely regarded as one of the toughest players in rugby league history, Sattler died after a battle with dementia.

Readers seeking support and information can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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