Papua New Guinean rugby league player dies at 23

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The Super League club was shocked to hear of the sudden death of their recent signing, 23-year-old Kato Ottio.

The cause of the death is still not known, however, many said Late Kato Ottio collapsed during a SP PNG Hunters' training run this week and was rushed to the Pacific International Hospital (PIH) were he died.

Born on 20 March 1994 in Tatana near Port Moresby - the capital of his native Papua New Guinea - Kato Ottio made a name for himself as a volleyball and Rugby Union player rather than on the Rugby League field in his early life.

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"It was hard to believe given the age of Kato and how I remembered him here".

"He was a very respectful young man who appreciated everything we were doing for him here in adjusting to life in Canberra and learning his trade in becoming a professional football player". Here is a tribute to a player and a man taken too soon.

"We suspended Hunters training effective as of yesterday when we saw that he (Kato) wasn't well".

Fellow PNG international Ottio died at the age of 23 on Tuesday after collapsing during a run
Fellow PNG international Ottio died at the age of 23 on Tuesday after collapsing during a run

Ottio spent the duration of his time at the Raiders with the club's feeder team, the Mount Pritchard Mounties, in the New South Wales Cup.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart and players Blake Austin and Elliott Whitehead also expressed their condolences.

Widnes CEO James Rule said: "We are devastated to learn that Kato Ottio has passed away [Monday] afternoon".

"This news is all the more tragic, because Kato was due to travel to the United Kingdom this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league", he told the team's official website.

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

"Widnes Vikings will of course be looking to celebrate Kato's life and pay our honest respects to someone who we believe would have become a hero at our club".

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