Tributes have poured in on social media for former Widnes player Liam Walsh, who has tragically passed away aged 23.
Walsh worked his way through every stage of the system at hometown club Widnes and gained international honours for England Academy before making his first team debut in Super League in 2017.
Walsh went on to make another five appearances for the Vikings before departing the club in 2019.
Widnes chief executive Phil Finney, who worked closely with Walsh through the academy, said: “I am devastated to hear the news of Liam’s passing this morning. Liam was a very special person and a very important part of our club for a number of years.
“He made a lasting impression on everyone he met with his sense of humour and contagious personality, he was a one off and will be remembered with great fondness by all at the club who had the pleasure of knowing him.
“We are all thinking about his family and friends at this really sad time.”
Tributes poured in on social media for Walsh…
— Widnes Vikings (@WidnesRL) September 19, 2021
That one was for you brother. Rest in peace Walshy, one of a kind❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/XVx5gkPAxc
— Joe Lyons (@JoeLyons6) September 19, 2021
This is heartbreaking news. RIP walshy lad.💔
— Aaron heremaia (@Azaheremaia) September 19, 2021
So many memories to share and remember. See you on the other side brother shine bright ❤️ https://t.co/cKEwTruu5V
— Danny (@dannyjoewalker) September 19, 2021
Awful news this, was always a top lad when I’ve played with and against him RIP walshy https://t.co/TjXOGqiG3f
— Harvey Whiteley (@harveywhiteley9) September 19, 2021
— Owen_farnworth (@owen_farnworth_) September 19, 2021
— Lloyd Roby (@LloydRoby) September 19, 2021
RIP brother ❤️😔 https://t.co/FcXDH0jyhm
— MacGraff Leuluai (@Leuluai) September 19, 2021
— Jarrod O’Connor (@jarrodoconnor13) September 19, 2021
So sad RIP mate ❤️ https://t.co/DwMyO7gC1J
— Jez Litten (@JezLitten) September 19, 2021
RIP liam a great lad and talented https://t.co/QgNXEqj89e thoughts and prayers are with his family gone far to soon
— steve ganson (@GansonSteve) September 19, 2021
Sending all my love and strength to Liam’s family and friends ❤️ Another taken too soon 😢 https://t.co/e6e4tHqFyF
— Lizzie Jones MBE (@LizzieJonesuk) September 19, 2021
So sad. One of the toughest I’ve played with and against. RIP Walshy ❤️ https://t.co/tcmHr1b0Bp
— Joe Brown (@Joe_Brown87) September 19, 2021
RIP Liam. Thoughts go out to his family, friends and former teammates. https://t.co/x155RBhsDV
— Chris Thorman (@Chris_Thorman6) September 19, 2021
Just heard the news💔 Prayers going up Walshy and his family. Rest in peace brother 🙏🏽
— Anthony Gelling (@AnthonyGelling) September 19, 2021
RIP Liam💔 thoughts are with his friends and family x https://t.co/iOPFIcTouC
— Brad Oneill (@BradOneill17) September 19, 2021
Rest in peace Liam. My thoughts are with his family and friends ❤️ https://t.co/uOu8v144JC
— Willie Isa (@ISA_Willie) September 19, 2021
Widnes observed a minute’s silence prior to Sunday’s match against Swinton, with the players wearing black armbands in honour of Walsh.