Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Kato Ottio: Papua New Guinea team-mate Wellington Albert to receive counselling

Kato Ottio: Papua New Guinea team-mate Wellington Albert to receive counselling

According to reports Ottio was training in Papua New Guinea with the PNG Hunters when he reportedly collapsed and was taken to Port Moresby Hospital where he later died.

The Papua New Guinea global joined Widnes from Canberra Raiders in December and had been due to travel to the United Kingdom to join the squad for pre-season training.

Club officials had been furnishing the house Ottio and Albert were going to share when they learned of the sudden death of the Kumuls speedster, who played all four of his country's matches at the 2017 World Cup.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said he was knocked for six when he heard the devastating news.

He was the NSWRL's leading tryscorer in 2016 while playing for Raiders feeder club the Mounties.

NSW Rugby League boss Dave Trodden also paid tribute to Ottio, who signed with Widnes in December after the World Cup and was to fly to the United Kingdom this week.

He was expected to travel to England next week to get ready for the start of the new Super League season in February.

"Kato was an incredibly talented player, with a bright future", Widnes chief executive James Rule said.

Whitehaven will face a Widnes club in mourning when they open their pre-season programme on Friday night.

"He sent me an email with the horrendous news last night that he'd passed away in the afternoon with the time difference there".

"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". At 23 years of age, Ottio had his whole life ahead of him; it is therefore even more harrowing that these words must be used, but, Rest in Peace Kato Ottio.

"Kato was always happy and bouncing around, I was talking to Blake Austin this morning and he said the world is so unfair and that only the good ones go early, it's so true".

"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".

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