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Mitch Cronin.

The Australian rugby league community is in mourning following the untimely death of Wynnum-Manly Seagulls hooker Mitch Cronin, aged 27.

Cronin, who was due to celebrate his 28th birthday next Saturday, had stints with the Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders and although he did not play in the Telstra Premiership, he played in the NRL Nines in Auckland for each club.

He captained the Seagulls to the Intrust Super Cup grand final last year.

His manager, Paul Hogan, confirmed the tragic news to The Courier Mail on Saturday morning, saying he was found in his parents' backyard pool in Brisbane on Friday after suffering a suspected heart attack following a weights session.

Cronin, who also represented Queensland Residents over the past four years, played in the opening round of the Intrust Super Cup season last month before the competition was shut down and subsequently cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitch Cronin during his time with Canberra's under 20s in 2012.
Mitch Cronin during his time with Canberra's under 20s in 2012. ©NRL Photos

A veteran of 108 matches in the Intrust Super Cup, he made his debut in 2014 playing for Souths Logan.

The Wynnum Manly Seagulls issued a statement on Saturday to offer their condolences to the family of their club captain.

"We are devastated by the passing of our captain Mitch Cronin and we send out love to Chris, Andrea, Ben, Amy and the Cronin family," said Wynnum Manly Seagulls chief executive Hanan Laban.

"Mitch was an exceptional young man who was loved and respected by his teammates, his coaching staff, our supporters and the wider rugby league community.

Mitch Cronin representing Queensland Residents in 2017.
Mitch Cronin representing Queensland Residents in 2017. ©NRL Photos

"From the moment he arrived at Wynnum he embodied the values of the Seagulls through his positive attitude, strong work ethic, and deep care for his teammates and his club.

"He was a fantastic leader who was genuine, caring and selfless with his actions.

"Mitch was a quiet achiever with a humble nature, who did not need to say too much to be held with enormous respect by his peers.

"He was fearless on the field, yet kind and modest off it – Mitch is forever in our hearts."

Broncos CEO Paul White issued a statement describing Cronin as "a quality young man who left his mark in our game through his actions both on and off the field".

"He spent plenty of time in the Broncos system and we got to know him well - he was the kind of bloke you wanted playing alongside you, and he was highly regarded across all of rugby league.

"We are all in mourning today and our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates."

Canberra also posted a tribute on their website to say Cronin was "a well liked and respected part of the Raiders during his time at the club and was a talented player who could cover a number of positions".

The QRL remembered Cronin as an outstanding person and leader who inspired those around him.

"Mitchell was a fantastic leader of men and a quality player," QRL competitions manager Dave Maiden said.

"More importantly though, he was a quality human being who will be mourned by many and missed by all.

"The people who came across him will be in state of disbelief … he’s one of the good ones."

His former Raiders teammate Jordan Rapana led the tributes to Cronin on social media, posting a heartfelt message on Instagram.