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Tributes have began flowing in for 1980?s rugby league star Scott Gale, who passed away this morning aged 39.
Gale, a 179 game veteran, had been battling Motor Neurone disease and had apparently already surpassed doctors expectations in regards to life expectancy.
Gale made an extensive network of friends during a 10 year career in first grade with Wests (1983), Easts (1984), Balmain (1985-1988), Norths (1989-90) and Canberra (1991-92). He played in both the 1988 and 1991 Grand Finals.
"Scott was an inspirational footballer on the field, but even his achievements there failed to match the way in which he carried himself through the horrible condition that is Motor Neurone Disease," said NRL Chief Executive David Gallop.
"Scott helped in raising funds and in raising awareness about the disease and he maintained an amazingly positive attitude during a tough time for himself and his family."
Motor Neurone Disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurones) controlling the muscles that enable us to move around, speak, breathe and swallow fail to work normally.
With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. The patterns of weakness vary from person to person.
ARL Chief Executive Geoff Carr paid tribute to the way in which Gale battled the disease and always remained positive.
"Even last year Scotty dropped in to have dinner with the NSW State of Origin team, showing people that you can cope with almost anything and it's a tragedy for us that he's gone," he said.
David Trodden, Balmain Tigers Chairman, says the entire club is devastated and saddened at the news of Gale?s passing.
?Scott will always be remembered as one of Tiger's greats of the 1980's,? Trodden said.
?Scott's brilliance on the field and the courage he displayed in recent years off the field battling Motor Neurone Syndrome is a testament to a tenacious man.
Scott played 92 first grade games between 1985 and 1988 for Tigers and was a member of the winning Panasonic Cup team in 1985 and 1987.
?Our deepest sympathies, prayers and thoughts at this time are with his partner Megan and his family,? Trodden added.
At present there is no cure for Motor Neurone disease, but co-ordinated research is being carried out across the world and encouraging progress is being made.