Tributes Pour In For Ex-Raider Kato Ottio, Dead At 23

Rugby young gun Kato Ottio was keeping fit with teammates from the Papua New Guinea Hunters when he collapsed from heatstroke- later dying at Port Moresby hospital

Remarkably Ottio had been a fine volleyball prospect until switching to rugby league just two years ago.

Although he played little NRL, Ottio was popular with his Raiders team-mates.

He was rushed to PIH after collapsing while on a road run with members of the SP PNG Hunters on Sunday afternoon.

He became an instant star in 2016 with Raiders feeder club, the Mounties in the New South Wales Cup, scoring in nearly every match he played in, earning himself another year with the team.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said: 'Receiving the devastating news this morning knocked me for six. Here is a tribute to a player and a man taken too soon.

NSW Rugby League boss Dave Trodden also paid tribute to Ottio, who signed with Widnes in December after the World Cup and was to fly to the United Kingdom this week.

Ottio's mother Joyce said her beloved son died after suffering a severe case of heatstroke
Ottio's mother Joyce said her beloved son died after suffering a severe case of heatstroke

Coach of the Hunters, Michael Marum explained the players will need time off to help deal with Ottio's sudden passing early this morning.

He had been due to travel to the United Kingdom this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league in Britain.

"He did his ACL at the back of 2016 and that took him a bit to get over but I think heading to the Super League would have really developed him further and he had a massive future in front of him".

"As a club, Widnes Vikings have committed to making a private donation to Kato's family to support them at this hard time".

"He could have become a real hero with our supporters with the way he played", chief executive James Rule said. They have to go through proper counselling through our pastor. At 23 years of age, Ottio had his whole life ahead of him; it is therefore even more harrowing that these words must be used, but, Rest in Peace Kato Ottio.

"Moreover, in all of our interactions with him, we found Kato to be a person of great character, who was excited to be following his dreams".

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