French rugby league has been rocked by the death of a man who for a long time has been a huge and vital servant to the sport across the channel.
Jean Claude Touxagas was a halfback for Catalans in his playing days.
After his passing, he has been described as “a figure of Catalan rugby league.”
He passed away today at the age of 64.
The former halfback was an elected member of the French Federation.
He also worked closely with Salford Red Devils.
Speaking to L’Independent, Catalans Dragons owner Bernard Guasch paid tribute to him:
“He is a figure of rugby league who is leaving us. A whole man, passionate, dedicated to the cause of treiziste, as there are very few. And as it lacks today. I’m upset.
“We were still sharing a beer together on Saturday at Old Trafford, before the World Cup final between Australia and Samoa,” said the president of the Catalans Dragons. “He was fit, passionate as always, we had discussed our recent health concerns, but, he seemed really good. Jean-Claude is a childhood friend. We followed each other to the rugby school of the Catalan XIII. In the years 75-76, he had succeeded Bernard Dejean at the opening of the XIII Catalan. And I succeeded him in this position after his big injury. He then continued his career at Palau which owes him so much. For 30 years, he carried the club, he was an exceptional leader. Palau XIII owes its current fame to him”.
Meanwhile, the French Federation themselves have paid tribute to him:
“President Luc LACOSTE and the members of the Management Committee of the French Rugby League Federation learned this morning of the sudden death of Jean Claude TOUXAGAS.
Member of the Steering Committee, Jean Claude was for all a friend, a brother, a partner, a respected adversary.
“He was a passionate and committed leader in the service of Rugby League. His passing already leaves a huge void around us. We are thinking particularly of his wife and children at this painful time.
“The French Rugby League Federation, elected officials and employees send them their most sincere condolences.”