Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The Rhinos great, 37, confirmed the news in a statement on Leeds’ website.
MND is a degenerative condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. There is no known cure.
One of the greatest in the Super League era, Burrow made almost 500 appearances for the Rhinos, winning multiple Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup titles and three World Club Challenges.
In a statement, he said: “Regrettably, today I am confirming that I have been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I would like to thank everyone for the support I have received already since being given my diagnosis.
“I know I have a big challenge in front of me but knowing that I have the love and support of so many people will give me inspiration and strength. I am very positive about the situation and intend to battle the condition as I still feel fit and well.
“I would like to ask for privacy at this time so I can adjust to the battle I have ahead and so that I can spend time with those closest to me ahead of Christmas and New Year.”
Kevin Sinfield added: “This has been devastating news and heartbreaking for Rob and his young family. The thoughts of everyone at Leeds Rhinos and, I am sure, throughout the Rugby League family is with Rob and his wife Lindsey. Throughout his career, Rob overcame the odds to become a legend of the game and I know he will tackle this challenge with the exact same positive determination.
“As a club, Rob will receive our full support and we will be working with him to chart the way forward. I would like to thank Doddie Weir for taking time out recently to meet with Rob and talk about his own personal experiences with MND.
“The news has been a massive shock and I know it will be similar for his many former team mates, friends and fans in the game. We will be developing ways we can best support Rob and his family in the future over the next few weeks and will be hoping to announce plans as soon as possible in the New Year. In the meantime, I would ask you all to keep Rob and his family in your thoughts over the Festive period.”
You can support Rob and his family by donating here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=robburrow