Simon Dunn's death at 35 leaves Australia in shock: 'Can't believe it'

The openly gay athlete represented Australia in bobsled and was a member of the Sydney Convicts rugby team.

Simon Dunn, pictured here before his tragic death.
Simon Dunn was found dead in his apartment at age 35. Image: Instagram

The Australian sporting and arts communities have been rocked by the tragic death of former bobsledder and rugby player Simon Dunn at 35. NSW police said Dunn's body was found in his Sydney apartment on Saturday morning, with the circumstances not treated as suspicious.

Dunn's agents Ruby Rose Management confirmed the devastating news. A police spokesperson said: “About 10 am on Saturday, January 21, 2023, police were called to a unit on Crown Street, Surry Hills, after reports the body of a man had been found inside.

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“The body is believed to be that of the 35-year-old occupant. Officers from Surry Hills Police Area Command have commenced inquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death, which is not being treated as suspicious."

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The 35-year-old Dunn became the first openly gay athlete to represent their country in bobsled. After retiring from the sport in 2016 he took up rugby and regularly played for the Sydney Convicts - an all-gay team.

Dunn made a return to bobsled in 2021 in an attempt to qualify for the Winter Olympics in 2022. However his dream was dashed when he ruptured his bicep.

Dunn was shortlisted for the Australian LGBTI Awards Sports Personality of the Year award in 2018 and 2019. “For me, my passion will always be working for my community and advocacy organisations plus exploring further ways I can contribute,” he said previously.

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Tributes pour in after death of Simon Dunn

DJ and drag performer Kitty Glitter led the tributes to Dunn, writing on Facebook: “Simply can't believe it”.

Kitty said she “knew him as a young adorable teenager and watched him blossom into the beautiful man and talented outstanding sportsman. I am in shock and heartbroken… We all loved [him] dearly.

“Our community has lost one of the most genuinely kind-hearted sweethearts the world has ever been blessed with. My heart goes out to all of Simon’s family and friends. His loving energy and spirit shall live on through us always.”

Ruby Rose Management said: “Simon was passionate about giving back to the community and volunteering, he gave his time, and utilising his profile, to help multiple charities. Like all great ambassadors, he had his favourites which included Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, Give Out Day and Pride in Sport.

“Simon never said ‘NO’ to donating his time to any organisation who wanted to grow its Diversity and Inclusion footprint from Woolworths to Lion – helping them all to better understand their LGBTQIA+ employees and customers.

"Simon represented us all, he always said 'I am not the spokesman, I am just a gay white male telling you about my experiences, and experiences from those with whom I listened and learnt'. The sharing of these stories gives us all an appreciation of what has led us to where we are today.”

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

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