Super 14
Brumbies mourn Mackay death
April 6, 2009
Brumbies forward Shawn Mackay during training at Griffith Oval, January 22, 2009
Shawn Mackay died in a Durban hospital on Monday © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Shawn Mackay
Tournaments/Tours: Super 14

Super 14 side Brumbies are mourning the loss of forward Shawn Mackay, 26, who died in a Durban hospital on Monday morning (AEST) from complications arising from a bloodstream infection.

Mackay had been involved in a collision with a vehicle following the Brumbies' Super 14 loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend, suffering spinal damage, a fractured skull and a broken leg. He underwent surgery to fuse vertebrae and spent time in a medically induced coma before his death from cardiac arrest.

"Shawn contracted an infection of his bloodstream after his surgery. He deteriorated rapidly and suffered a cardiac arrest from which he didn't recover," Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan confirmed. "This is devastating news for his family and for all of us in the Brumbies community. It's devastating news for Shawn's family first and foremost but (also for) all of us in the Brumbies community and the broader rugby community.

"He made an enormous contribution to Australian rugby through the Australian sevens programme and then with the Brumbies. But most of all he's a great guy and an outstanding character and he's going to be dearly missed by all of us."

Mackay's Brumbies team-mates were informed of his death when they arrived back in Sydney, the news rocking a tight-knit group.

"I was notified in flight from South Africa and notified the players upon our arrival," said a tearful Brumbies coach Andy Friend. "It's the worst possible news and it's fair to say we're all in shock and we've taken the news very, very hard. When we left South Africa we all hoped Macca would recover very quickly and would be joining us at home in a matter of weeks. To hear that the blood infection has led to a cardiac arrest and has taken his life is all very hard for us to reconcile."

He added: "Shawn Mackay was an outstanding person. When we recruited Macca to the Brumbies we did so for his character as much as his outstanding rugby skills. He was generous, he was warm, he was funny, he was an enthusiastic player who had the respect of everybody at the Brumbies and everybody in Australian rugby. His passing is a tragedy."

Mackay, who was aided at the scene of the accident by Sharks prop and qualified doctor Jannie du Plessis, got his break with the Waratahs in 2006 and switched to the Brumbies on a rookie Super 14 contract at the start of this season. The South African Rugby Union has announced that a minute's silence will be held for Mackay before all games this coming weekend.


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