Rugby league hero Steve Prescott MBE dies aged 39

Rugby league champion Steve Prescott has died aged 39 following a long battle against cancer.

Prescott had fought the rare abdominal cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei since being diagnosed in September 2006.

The former St Helens, Hull and Wakefield full-back, who won international honours for both England and Ireland, was given just months to live, but fought bravely against the disease, and raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years.

He earned widespread admiration for his incredible feats, including some daunting endurance challenges, and was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to rugby league and charity.

In tribute, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of Steve Prescott. Our thoughts are with his family at this terribly sad time.

“The word ‘hero’ is overused in sport but Steve was just that: a role model for every young Rugby League player during his distinguished playing career and an absolute inspiration to all of us off the field.”

One of Prescott’s last public appearances was to accept his place in the St Helens Hall of Fame back in August. He scored 52 tries in 117 appearances for Saints, including two in the 1996 Challenge Cup final victory over Bradford, and was presented to the club’s Hall of Fame by Ray French, alongside a team-mate that day, Apollo Perelini.

The news came on the morning of England‘s World Cup game with Fiji at the KC Stadium, Hull, almost 13 years to the day since Prescott turned out for Ireland against England at the 2000 tournament.

He retired from playing through injury in 2004, and set up the Steve Prescott Foundation in 2007, which has to date raised more than half a million pounds.

Social media was full of tributes to Prescott, who is survived by his wife LInzi and two children.

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