Kato Ottio dies after illness in training at 23

Tributes Pour In For Ex Raider Kato Ottio Dead At 23

Ottio was due to travel to join United Kingdom club Widnes Vikings for pre-season training after signing for them in December.

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. He was unconscious and in a coma and they were not able to revive him.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart says Kato Ottio's death "knocked me for six".

It is thus with great sadness that Ottio never got to pursue his Super League ambitions and that Super League was never able to witness a player that had the devastating ability to light up the field like few before him.

He represented Papua New Guinea in volleyball before signing for the Canberra Raiders in February 2016, just two years after taking up rugby league.

The Papua New Guinea global was part of the side which lost to England in the 2017 World Cup quarter-finals.

"I am still in shock", Betts said.

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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", he told the team's official website.

"He was always cheeky to me because we became so close through Mounties and he'd have a giggle at me but it was always respectful and he always had a smile on his face". "I spoke to him on Saturday and he was excited about coming to play for us".

Club officials had been furnishing the house Ottio and Albert were going to share when they learned the news.

His impressive performances at the Zone Championships raised a certain number of eyebrows and Ottio was named in the National Zone All Stars to play the Digicel Cup All Stars in the curtain-raiser before the Prime Ministers' XIII clash in October 2014 - he also ended up being used as a substitute by the PNG PM's XIII against Australia PM's XIII.

"Shattered to hear the news about Katsy".

Austin said there "wasn't a day he wasn't smiling".

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