Inspirational former London Broncos academy player Matt King passes away, aged 33

The Rugby League Benevolent Fund has announced the death of inspirational former London Broncos academy player Matt King at the age of 33.

King, who was left paralysed after an injury sustained as a 17-year-old, died on Tuesday morning after suffering heart failure following a prolonged stay in hospital in Bedfordshire, where he was admitted in early December with bowel problems.

RL Benevolent Fund general manager Steve Ball said: “We are devastated at the loss of a young man who was an inspiration to everyone who had the privilege to meet him.

“In true Matt King style, he fought to the very end but tragically his battle ended at 4:30 this morning (Tuesday).

“Our thoughts are with Matt’s family, especially his wife Ilona and their two lovely daughters, two-year-old Arabella and baby Georgia, who is just 11 months old.”

King’s spinal injury, which left him paralysed from the neck down and unable to breathe independently, led to the creation of the RL Benevolent Fund, which supports rugby league players in need.

King was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to charity, having raised tens of thousands of pounds for the RL Benevolent Fund and other organisations through a series of events and activities.

He became a successful mouth artist, gained a first-class honours law degree and shared his infectious enthusiasm for life as an inspirational speaker with businesses, education and sports teams across the UK.

Tim Adams, chairman of the RL Benevolent Fund, said: “The whole rugby league family will be deeply moved at the terrible loss of such a very special young man.

“Matt really was an incredible individual who achieved great things in his young life and we feel robbed to have lost him like this.

“The RL Benevolent Fund will continue to offer its full support to Ilona, Arabella and Georgia and I am sure the wider rugby league family will join me in sending love and condolences to the King family.”

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