Brumbies’ Mackay dies

2009-04-06 00:00

The investigation into Brumbies rugby player Shawn Mackay’s death will be changed from negligent driving to culpable homicide following his death yesterday, police said.

“It will be investigated like all other accidents and when the investigation is finalised, it will be handed to the director of public prosecutions to decide whether anybody should be prosecuted,” said police spokeswoman Director Phindile Radebe.

No one has yet been arrested for the accident.

Messages of condolence have poured in from the international rugby community following Mackay’s death yesterday.

Mackay suffered a cardiac arrest at St Augustine’s Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The Brumbies forward was seriously injured over a week ago when he was hit by a vehicle as he and his team-mates left a Durban nightclub.

He sustained a spinal and cervical dislocation, multiple face and leg fractures, and a broken left leg. He underwent spinal surgery and was wakened from his medically induced coma last Thursday.

His parents John, himself a former Brumbies player, and Leonie and his girlfriend Trish flew to South Africa last week to spend time with Mackay. Although he could not speak, he made eye contact with them during their visits, raising hopes for a speedy recovery.

Brumbies team manager Rob McQuade said that Mackay had shown “promising signs” of recovering, but then contracted a blood infection. “He deteriorated rapidly and suffered cardiac arrest from which he didn’t recover,” he said.

McQuade struggled to hold back his emotions as he told media that Mackay’s family and girlfriend were devastated by his death.

Brumbies head coach Andy Friend broke the news to Mackay’s team-mates on their arrival in Sydney yesterday.

“It is the worst possible news and it’s fair to say that they are all in shock and have taken the news very hard,” said McQuade.

He described Mackay as an “outstanding man of character” who made a huge contribution to Australian rugby.

“Shawn was recruited to the Brumbies in the most recent off-season as much for his character, as for his excellent rugby skills,” McQuade said.

He added that Mackay’s family and the Brumbies team were overwhelmed by the e-mails and messages of support from Australia, Durban and the international rugby community. He added that Mackay’s family have asked for privacy to mourn his death.

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