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Brumbies' Mackay succumbs in hospital

ACT Brumbies lock Shawn Mackay, who suffered spinal injuries and a broken leg after being hit by a car in South Africa, died in hospital in Durban on Monday from a bloodstream infection following surgery, the club said.

Mackay had woken up from a medically-induced coma last week and started communicating with doctors and family through blinking after undergoing surgery to his spine.

Mackay's parents, John and Leonie Mackay, and girlfriend flew to South Africa last week to be by his side.

Brumbies spokesman David Pembroke said Mackay's condition had taken a turn for the worse overnight before he passed away early yesterday.

"(The feeling in Canberra) is one of complete devastation," said Pembroke, adding that the players, who were flying back from South Africa, had yet to be informed.

"It was bad enough that he was injured, but for this to happen is just devastating, not only for the club but for the entire rugby community," he said.

"He was just a wonderful bloke to have as part of the team."

His death had come despite showing "positive signs of recovery", Brumbies Rugby CEO Andrew Fagan told the club's Website.

"Shawn contracted an infection of his bloodstream after his surgery. He deteriorated rapidly, and suffered a cardiac arrest from which he didn't recover," Fagan said.

"This is devastating news for his family and for all of us in the Brumbies community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said Mackay was "a credit to the game of rugby, and much loved by all who knew him."

Mackay, 26, was recruited by the Brumbies this season after spending the past five years playing rugby league in Sydney.

He was selected as a reserve for the Brumbies against the Sharks but came off the bench to play in his team's 14-35 loss in their Super 14 match last month.

He was struck by a car while returning to the hotel with teammates in the early hours of the morning.

The Brumbies defeated the Cheetahs 40-27 in their Super 14 match in Bloemfontein on Saturday, despite news of Mackay's condition clouding preparations.


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