Britain's Got Talent finalist pauses show to pay tribute to rugby legend Rob Burrow after sad death

Britain's Got Talent
-Credit: (Image: ITV / Thames / Syco)

Britain's Got Talent contestant Alex Mitchell brought the live final show to a heartfelt pause on Sunday 2 June as he dedicated a moment to honour rugby legend Rob Burrow. The 41-year-old sportsman's death was announced by his former team, Leeds Rhinos, and tributes flooded in - including an emotional message from Prince William.

Alex, a teaching assistant by day, took to the BGT stage for the grand finale, aiming to snag the £250,000 prize and the coveted spot at the Royal Variety Performance. Winning over everyone with his stand-up comedy that cleverly incorporated his tics, Alex touched the audience further with his tribute.

"About an hour ago before I came on stage I got the sad news and it'd be remiss of me not to mention it. I know they won't be watching but to the family of Rob Burrow he is a hero," he said during the live show, paying homage to Rob.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association released a poignant statement confirming the tragic loss of one of its biggest supporters. It read: ““It is with great sadness that the MND Association has learnt of the death of our patron Rob Burrow CBE, four and a half years after his diagnosis of motor neurone disease.

“Our thoughts today are with Rob’s wife Lindsey, children Macy, Maya and Jackson, family and friends and the rugby community.

"Rob, who played at number 7 for Leeds Rhinos, lived with this brutal disease in the public eye after choosing to announce his diagnosis shortly before Christmas 2019. He remained a consistent and passionate advocate for people with MND – he became the first person to use a communications aid to read a bedtime story on CBeebies.

Rob Burrow
Rob Burrow

“And he joined the United To End MND coalition which successfully campaigned for a £50 million Government investment in targeted MND research. In doing so much, he inspired support from so many.”

Prince William also sent a personal message on the official social media account he shares with wife Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales. In a personally signed message on X, he said: “He taught us, ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.’ Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya and Macy.”