The Mole: Details emerge of Kato Ottio's tragic passing

The Mole: Details emerge of Kato Ottio's tragic passing

Ottio had been awaiting a visa to travel to Britain and was training with the local PNG Hunters side when he collapsed at training over the weekend.

Ottio, 23, was signed by the Vikings after helping Papua New Guinea reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Cup.

Austin said there "wasn't a day he wasn't smiling".

Although he spent the 2016 season with the Raiders' feeder team, the Mount Pritchard Mounties, in the New South Wales Cup, Ottio's class shone through.

Widnes Vikings signed the player in December and expected the up-and-coming athlete to become a "hero" for them.

PNG Kumul centre and Rugby League star, Kato Ottio, shockingly passed away this morning while recovering at the Pacific International Hospital.

"This news is all the more tragic, because Kato was due to travel to the United Kingdom this week to fulfil his dream of playing first-grade rugby league", he said on the team's website.

Ottio recently played for PNG at the World Cup.

It is thus with great sadness that Ottio never got to pursue his Super League ambitions and that Super League was never able to witness a player that had the devastating ability to light up the field like few before him.

"All of us saw at the World Cup the incredible gifts that Kato had, and his potential to forge a great career in rugby league", Widnes coach Denis Betts said.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said the club was in mourning and spoke of Ottio's positive attitude and impact at the Green Machine. And, at just 23 years of age, he was only going to get better - a scary thought for a player that was already exciting and enthralling crowds in PNG and Australia.

"He was a very respectful young man who appreciated everything we were doing for him here in adjusting to life in Canberra and learning his trade in becoming a professional football player".