New Castleford Tigers winger Garry Lo has paid an emotional tribute to ‘brother’ Kato Ottio – his former team-mate for club and country who passed away on Monday.
Ottio, who was due to fly to the UK this week to join up with Super League side Widnes, tragically passed away after what the Vikings described as a ‘sudden health issue’ while the centre was training in preparation for his move to the Vikings.
Lo played with Ottio as recently as last autumn’s World Cup, while also playing for him with Papua New Guinea’s top domestic side, the PNG Hunters.
And understandably, Lo was emotional when asked for his feelings on Ottio’s sudden passing.
He said: “It was really emotional for me yesterday. He’s my brother, we used to play together all the time since we started playing rugby. We played at the PNG Hunters together and we went to Australia together, and he was my centre in the World Cup.
“We were the best, best mates. I heard the news and I was very emotional – I cried at night. He’s gone too early.
“He should have been flying to the UK on Thursday but this has happened. I’m sorry to his family for the loss and may he rest in peace.
“He was the most humble guy I can think of having come across. He talked politely, respected everyone and I’ll remember him as a humble person in my life. I’m going to miss him as a best friend and as a brother.”
Widnes have set up a crowdfunding page to raise monies for the family of Ottio back home in Papua New Guinea. You can donate by clicking here.