The rugby league community is mourning the sudden passing of Papua New Guinea international Katto Ottio at the age of 23.
Papua New Guinea Rugby League released a statement saying that Ottio passed away earlier today in hospital with information to be released shortly about the cause.
It was believed that Benkato “Kato” Ottio was preparing for the 2018 Super League season back in Port Moresby and was set to fly out shortly to his new club, Widnes Vikings.
A highly talented player, Ottio couldn’t quite break it into the Canberra Raiders side in the two seasons he was at the club. He was the NSWRL’s leading tryscorer in 2016 and part of their team of the year.
It was only at the weekend we rated Ottio highly in our NRL Imports that will make an impact in this year’s Super League.
The tributes have flooded in for six-time PNG International.
— PNG Kumuls (@PNGKumulsRL) January 8, 2018
Absolutely devastated to hear the passing of my Kumul brother Kato Ottio. He was one of most humble and kind hearted people I have ever known. Lau kudougu ai bonoho hanaimu. Forever in my heart. Love you brother Rest In Peace. I will miss you Katzy Mero ❤️ pic.twitter.com/lWSOoPGiMM
— David Mead (@davidmead411) January 8, 2018
On days like this, you see the incredible community in our great sport. Thank you to everyone who has shared their respect for Kato. We will ensure that his family knows about the great kindness from supporters across the world. #RIPKato ⚫️⚪️ 🇵🇬 pic.twitter.com/GbJt41hFdc
— Widnes Vikings (@WidnesRL) January 8, 2018
Our thoughts are with the the family of Kato Ottio and the PNG rugby league community at this sad time.
Born: Sunday 20th March 1994 (Tatana Island, PNG)
Death: Tuesday 9th January 2018 (Port Moresby, PNG)
2/5/2015 vs Fiji
7/5/2016 vs Fiji (1 try)
28/10/2017 RLWC vs Wales (1 try)
5/11/2017 RLWC vs Ireland
12/11/2017 RLWC vs USA
19/11/2017 RLWC Quarter Final vs England