Remembering Rob Burrow CBE (1982 - 2024)

Pan Macmillan has paid tribute to Rob Burrow CBE, rugby league legend, charity fundraiser and author, following his death from motor neurone disease aged 41.

Rob Burrow was one of the greatest rugby league players of all time. He spent his career at Leeds Rhinos where he won the Super League, Challenge Cup, World Cup Challenge, League Leader's Shield and the Harry Sunderland man of the match trophy in 2007 and 2011. Then, in December 2019, shortly after retiring, he was given the devastating news that he was suffering from the degenerative illness MND.

Rob was determined to remain positive and live as full a life as possible and, with the support of his wife Lindsay and their family, that is exactly what he did. He also documented his story, most notably with the BBC, in order to increase awareness of MND. Together, Rob and Kevin raised millions of pounds to support MND charities and the MND community. Rob was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list 2021 and subsequently a CBE in the New Year Honours List 2024.

Joanna Prior, CEO - Pan Macmillan, has said: 

Rob was a hero twice over: firstly in his rugby career when he refused to let the idea that he was ‘too small’ for such a physical sport deter him, and secondly in the way he campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of motor neurone disease following his diagnosis with the illness. Rob’s courage was truly inspirational and we are humbled to have worked with him and his wife Lindsey. His books express the remarkable qualities that will shape his legacy and inspire future generations: resilience, team spirit and the power of true friendship. Our thoughts are with Rob’s wife, Lindsey, and their three children at this incredibly sad time.

Pan Macmillan published Rob's autobiography Too Many Reasons to Live in 2021. In November 2023, Macmillan Children’s Books published a gift book by Rob and his close friend Kevin Sinfield, With You Every Step: A Celebration of Friendship. They had also been working together on a picture book, Try, about friendship and what makes someone a hero.

Too Many Reasons to Live was a number one Sunday Times bestseller and went on to win Autobiography of the Year in the Sports Books Awards in 2022. With You Every Step: A Celebration of Friendship was a number one bestselling children’s non-fiction book on publication.

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield image credit: Daily Mail