Former Oldham, England and Lancashire rugby league star Kevin Taylor has been found dead at his home in Garden Suburb, Oldham, where he lived alone.
Police and paramedics made the discovery after being alerted by neighbours, who hadn’t seen the 73-year-old former hooker for more than a fortnight.
A lifelong friend, Bob Henthorn, told the club: “Everyone who knew Kevin well has been stunned by this. It’s knocked me for six. I was close to him since we were kids at junior school together and I always thought he was in the best of health.
“I last saw him about a month ago and he was his usual larger-than-life self. I can’t believe what’s happened.
“The paramedics found him dead in a chair. They couldn’t put a time on when he died, but they said whatever had happened had happened very quickly.”
Born and brought up in the St Mary’s district of Oldham, Taylor signed for his hometown club shortly after his 16th birthday and went on to be a mainstay in the front-row for the next 14 years.
He played a total of 429 games for the club leaving him joint third, alongside Harry Ogden, in the list of post-war appearances, with only Martin Murphy (462) and Mike Elliott (446) ahead of him.
News of Kevin’s death was broken by Oldham’s Ex-Players’ Association secretary Joe Warburton late on Tuesday night.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s family and friends. He was an Oldham RLFC legend. It is with great regret and sadness that we report his death,” said Warburton.
Michael Turner, of the Oldham RL Heritate Trust, added: “He was a model of consistency, a great servant of the club and definitely one of the best hookers never to play for Great Britain.”