The Mole: Details emerge of Kato Ottio's tragic passing

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The rugby league world is in mourning over the death of 23-year-old Kato Ottio, who recently represented Papua New Guinea at the World Cup.

"He did his ACL at the back of 2016 and that took him a bit to get over but I think heading to the Super League would have really developed him further and he had a massive future in front of him".

Australian media reported that Ottio collapsed after a long training run with players from the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby and died later in hospital.

"Details of (his) death will be released later", he added on Facebook.

Ottio signed for Widnes Vikings in December and had been due to travel to the United Kingdom this week for pre-season training.

Remarkably Ottio had been a fine volleyball prospect until switching to rugby league just two years ago.

"We are devastated to learn that Kato Ottio has passed away this afternoon".

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"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".

Widnes have launched a crowdfunding campaign to remember Kato Ottio and support his family.

"To get this news is devastating, and our thoughts are with his family".

The Papua New Guinea worldwide had only signed for Widnes in December from Canberra, where he was a regular in their feeder team.

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.

Vikings head coach Denis Betts, who admitted he was in shock over the news, had spoken earlier of his plans for them to include several big-name players, as well as giving a debut for new signing Krisnan Inu. Moreover, in all of our interactions with him, we found Kato to be a person of great character, who was excited to be following his dreams.

'On behalf of the coaching team, staff and players at Widnes Vikings, I would like to offer our honest condolences to Kato's loved ones, ' he finished.

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