Lance Thompson dies, aged 40: Tributes flow for 'Thommo'
The NRL is in mourning following the death of former Dragons and Sharks forward Lance Thompson.
A wholehearted second-rower, who made his debut as a teenager for St George in 1995, he played in the grand final the following year, as well as St George Illawarra's dramatic loss to Melbourne in the 1999 decider.
Thompson played 201 games in the red and white before departing for Cronulla, playing three seasons with the Sharks before retiring in 2008.
Police Media said police were called to a Cronulla residence at 9pm on Thursday after receiving calls about a man's welfare.
Police Media said the death is not being treated as suspicious and have indicated it does not appear to have been an incident involving self-harm.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
A two-time Australian Schoolboys representative while attending Kingsgrove High, Thompson played his junior football with Hurstville United before being graded with the Dragons.
He played five games with City Origin from 2001-07 and was often knocking on the door for NSW Origin selection.
"Lance was a colourful, earnest rugby league character and a loyal friend of many at the Dragons," Dragons chief executive Peter Doust said.
"We are all are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts are with his family."
The Dragons will wear black armbands as a mark of respect in Sunday's game with the Bulldogs at Kogarah, a ground where Thompson was a fan favourite.
Thompson joined the Sharks in 2006 and retired during the 2008 NRL season due to ongoing knee problems.
Former teammates paid tribute to the popular Dragons junior, who current Manly coach and St. George Illawarra half Trent Barrett described as "one of the toughest players we would have all played with."
"He was the main man around for our age," Barrett said. "He was one of the fittest blokes and just never gave up. You couldn't beat him at anything really, he was such a competitor."
Thompson's former St George captain Mark Coyne summed up the sentiments of the rugby league landscape.
"I'm shattered that his life has been taken so young," Coyne said.
"Lance was a tremendous competitor from such a young age – gave his all at the Dragons."
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg shared his thoughts on Thompson, saying he was ''tough and humble", while ARLC chairman Peter Beattie also paid tribute along with numerous current and former players on social media.
The Rugby League Players' Association also paid tribute to the former City Origin forward.