Video: Tributes pour in for Jim Stynes
20 March 2012
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Tadhg Kennelly and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard are among those who have paid tribute to Jim Stynes, who passed away at the age of 45
The former Dublin minor star and Aussie Rules legend lost his three year battle with cancer and will receive a State funeral in Victoria.
AFL stars, his former teammates and leaging figures in Australia have all come out to pay tribute to Stynes.
"The stuff he did on field was unbelievable and really, for myself, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jimmy Stynes because he was the trailblazer," said Tadhg Kennelly.
"He was the one that set the tone for people with different backgrounds. Not just for Irish players, but the likes of Nic Naitanui and blokes with totally different backgrounds and upbringings to AFL, he was the one that set the scene ... and I'm indebted to the man because I wouldn't be standing here today."
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also took time to honour the Dublin native: "Jim Stynes was a great footballer, an absolute legend at the Melbourne Football Club.
"He's come into the hearts of Australians for so much more than his footballing career. He showed such bravery in the face of his devastating illness. He's shown such courage. He'll be very sorely missed."
GAA President Christy Cooney has extended the sympathies of the Association to the family and friends of Jim Stynes: "He was a hugely respected and admired figure and you only have to take note of the massive outpouring that has accompanied his passing to fully understand the regard he was held in - on both sides of the world.
"He fought his illness the way he played his football, with honesty, integrity and consistency, and on its own his successful transition from our game to AFL footie was a statement about the man.
"Needless to say his influence spread far beyond the playing arena and his work in the areas of both charity and of course AFL administration, especially with the Melbourne Demons, are to be lauded.
"I offer the deepest sympathies of wider GAA community to his family circle and of course his many friends, and hope his memory and the very public way in which he battled with his illness serves as an inspiration to others."