Mum’s plea to dead footy star’s mates
There was an outpouring of emotion on Wednesday as family, friends and teammates gathered at Keith Titmuss' funeral to farewell the up-and-coming rugby league star.
The Manly player tragically died last month, aged 20, after a training session in Narrabeen on Sydney's northern beaches. He started feeling ill after the session, telling staff he was suffering from cramps.
Titmuss was transported by ambulance to Northern Beaches Hospital, before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he died soon after.
The rugby league world is in mourning for the young gun, who was part of the Sea Eagles' senior squad for 2021 and hoped to make his NRL debut next year.
Tragically, he will never get that chance.
Those who knew Titmuss congregated for his funeral at the EFKS Mount Druitt Church in Emerton, where his mother Lafo delivered an emotional address and passed on a message to her son's mates.
"From the moment Keith was born, we could tell our baby was special. He was a determined individual. I have seen him be laser focused on a goal and then set his mind to achieving whatever it was," Lafo said.
"Keith was a down-to-earth type of fella. You could call him a no-frills type of guy. He was self-assured and full of confidence. He didn't like being the centre of attention, preferring to gain a reputation based on his actions on the field.
"To Keithy's circle of friends, I say chin up, back straight, be strong. Be sad, but only for a little while. Pursue your dreams and live your best life and remember 623."
Titmuss' brother Jesse, who posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook after his sibling's death, also spoke.
"Keith was my little brother, man, he made me so proud, I looked up to him as an older brother," Jesse said at the service. "He meant so much to me. He was my inspiration, my idol. He was such a blessing on our lives. Our house is going to be so quiet now.
"Growing up with Keith was awesome. We grew up playing footy, Keith was four-years-old, I was five or six. We bonded over footy. Keith loved his mates, they meant so much to him.
"His life was cut short to 20 years but he had big plans, big dreams and aspirations and I am so grateful to the club for granting that Manly Sea Eagles number (623) to him. I'm going to forever miss him. I hope he rests easy."
The Daily Telegraph reports a video was played of Titmuss' promising rugby league career and friends performed a haka for him after the service.
Manly coach Des Hasler and stars including Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic were in attendance, as were other players and staff.
Originally published as Mum's plea to dead footy star's mates