Tributes continue to pour in following the sudden death of 21-year-old Wigan rugby league talent

Heartbreaking stuff.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 10th April 2024

Tributes continue to pour in following the tragic death of Gabriel Holt, the Wigan ruby talent who passed away suddenly this week, aged just 21.

Born and raised in the town of Atherton, Gabriel Holt played for Wigan St Patricks RUFC and previously represented the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), being described as an “exceptional talent” and having “brightened up the room”.

The Greater Manchester local qualified for the Wales Students team through family heritage and won three caps for the squad in 2023, as well as being named in this year’s squad for the upcoming Four Nations tournament. The budding Wigan rugby star’s cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

People from all over the rugby league community have been paying their respects to the promising youngster, with the likes of his father and St Patricks leading the emotional tributes:

People from all over British rugby are honouring Gabriel Holt.

‘Gabe’s’ father Chris Holt wrote in a heartbreaking social media post following the outpouring of condolences online: “These comments. They bring a tear to my eye. Gabe was a bit of a journeyman, starting at Atherton Dragons when he was five years old…


“After Dragons folded he did a stint at Leigh East & Folly Lane before finally finding his forever home at Pat’s. He was ever so proud to play for a club with such a reputation and team spirit – ‘kick one of us, kick all of us!’ – and every Monday was simply the start of the countdown to game day, thankfully then in warmer (ish!) conditions for us mardy parents.

“Even after leaving for UCLAN where he loved playing, the academic season allowed him to return to Pat’s and play when he could, in his last match scoring a try to level the scores against the difficult Leigh Miners before Pat’s prevailed by two points. He was champing at the bit to return once he got over his knee injury, especially after being chosen to represent Wales for the second year of asking…


“Sadly it wasn’t to be. We are forever indebted to Wigan St Patricks who showed him what ‘team’ meant. Everyone has their role. Everyone has each other’s back. Everyone is included. No questions asked. The best game in the world. And he loved every second of it, dislocated limbs included.”

Multiple players and trainers from his past and present have waxed lyrical about his presence both on and off the pitch even at such a young age, with his head coach at Wales Students, Craig Fisher, writing: “No words will ever be able to articulate what an exceptional human being you were.

“You were a leader, a team-mate, a champion but most of all a friend to everyone you met. I feel privileged to have known you and to have coached you. I know how proud you were to wear the red of Wales and were itching to tear into the 2024 Four Nations.


“As heart-wrenching as it will be that you won’t be with us in person to go to war with us, we will take comfort in knowing that our Angel Gabriel will be with us every step of the way. Godspeed, young man. Forever your coach.”

A fundraiser has now been set up by a family friend of the Holts, Dan Harris, which has already managed to raise over nearly £6,000 in donations to put towards Gabriel’s funeral costs, with Harris urging people to “dig deep” and “find that bit of spare cash, put in what you can afford and help to make this difficult time that little bit easier” for his loved ones.

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As written in the description of the GoFundMe page, the Holts have described the rallying from the rugby community and those kind enough to contribute as “amazing”, insisting they have been “blown away by the love and respect shown for Gabriel.”

Harris himself said: “I’ve known the Holt family for over 11 years, me, Chris and [Gabe’s mum] Michelle became fast friends and I’ve seen the kids grow up and mature. [I] watched Gabriel go from an awkward little boy to a fit, healthy and strong man pursuing his dreams of playing rugby for top teams…

“To hear of his passing in such a sudden way is heart-wrenching. Words can’t describe the heartache we all feel, the pain and suffering that the family are going through.” He also went on to cite dad Chris’ always offering his help to the local community down the years, “be that fixing a washing machine, picking up your broken down car to fix or running you somewhere for an errand”, often without payment.


He signed off by saying, “Well now’s our time so that the family doesn’t struggle.” You can donate to Gabriel Holt’s fundraiser HERE.

Rest in peace.

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Featured Images — GoFundMe/Wigan St. Patricks ARLFC (via Facebook)