GAA and AFL mourn Stynes

by Michelle Fortune , 20 March 2012

Former All-Ireland minor medallist Jim Stynes has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 45.

Stynes won an All-Ireland minor medal with Dublin in 1984 but it was not long before he was snapped up by Australian Rules side the Melbourne Demons and he went on to enjoy a hugely successful career Down Under.

He bravely fought cancer after being diagnosed in 2009 but he lost his battle in Melbourne on Monday.

"Jim Stynes' died on Tuesday the 20th of March at 8.20 am," his wife Sam wrote on Facebook.

"Jim was pain free, dignified and peaceful.

"Matisse and Tiernan were present.

"Not surprisingly, in his last week of life Jim continued to defy the odds and lived his life to the fullest, attending the Melbourne vs Hawthorn football match, his son Tiernan's 7th Birthday celebration, The MFC Blazer Ceremony and a casual Friday night dinner at Toplinos in his much loved suburb St Kilda.

"In his final days Jim was immersed with insurmountable love and tenderness surrounded by his family and some close friends in the comfort of his own home.

"On behalf of Jim my heartfelt thanks to all those who have so generously cared for, guided and supported Jim throughout his challenging cancer battle."

She added: "It is an incredibly sad time, however Jim in his passing, has made us see that in our grief that we can smile in our hearts for a beautiful man who will forever hold a special place in the hearts of many. Jim's lesson is that life was to be challenged and treasured."

Stynes played 264 games with Melbourne and remains the only player from outside Australia to win the coveted Brownlow Medal in 1991.

Just two years later he was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame and was named in the Melbourne Team of the Century. After his retirement he took over as president of Melbourne and worked tirelessly to wipe out the club's rising debt.

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