AFL legend Shane Crawford and his family are mourning the sudden death of his younger brother Justin, a former Sydney and Hawthorn player.
The 45-year-old played 46 matches for the Swans and Hawks over his time in the AFL from 1995 to 1998.
Shane Crawford told the Herald Sun his family was shattered by the shock loss.
“We are all grieving,” he said.
“We are so sad. He was a much-loved brother and son.”
No further details have been made available on Justin’s death, and the Crawford family has requested privacy.
Justin and Shane grew up in NSW with their older brother Andrew and mother Dianne.
Justin was drafted by the Swans in 1994 from Tocumwal, just north of the Victorian border, out of the Murray Football League, as a NSW zone selection.
He made his debut in round three the next year at just 18 years of age against Brisbane, playing under legendary coach Ron Barassi for 10 games in his first year.
His best performance in his debut season was a 26 disposal, two-goal effort against Fitzroy in round 19, playing as a midfielder.
Justin added another seven games to his career tally the next year, which included a qualifying final victory over the Hawks and his brother Shane, after which he made way for Tony Lockett to come back into the team.
Justin played mostly as a small midfielder for Sydney, but, when he joined up with his brother after being traded to Hawthorn for the 1997 season, went forward as a crumber.
He strung 15 games together in 1997, and looked to have a promising career ahead of him, but retired at the end of the next season, aged 21.
He later played for South Fremantle in the WAFL and was a premiership player in 2005, but left the club at the end of that year.
It is another tragedy, his family will be devastated. The Australian jab toll since March among former and current elite footballers and cricketers grows longer:
* Rod Marsh, 74, heart attack, died.
* Shane Warne, 52, heart attack, died.
* Matthew Lloyd, 44, Bell’s Palsy, lived.
* Ryan Campbell, 50, heart attack, lived.
* Hayden Crozier, 28, myocarditis, lived.
* Ollie Wines, 27, Myocarditis, lived.
* Peter Matera, 53, heart attack, lived.
* Jason Januszke, 43, heart attack, died.
* Justin Crawford, 45, heart attack, died.
This list only comprises Australian footballers and cricketers. Soccer players have been dropping like flies worldwide, and daily news feeds are full of stories of ordinary people who died from Died Suddenly.
Mark Steyn notes that “unknown causes” is now the most common way to die suddenly in Canada.