Ulster centre Nevin Spence has been killed alongside his brother and their father in a farming tragedy which also injured their sister in Northern Ireland.
The 22-year-old rose to prominence playing for Ulster Rugby and was a rising star in Ireland's international rugby scene but died on Saturday after falling into a slurry tank.
Emergency crews went to the family farm in Drumlough Road outside Hillsborough, Co Down, shortly after 6pm on Saturday following reports that four people had fallen into the slurry pit.
Following a lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.
Nevin Spence was a member of the Ulster Rugby squad that reached the European Heineken cup final last season, and he was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.
Rugby players and fans paid tribute to the young player on social media as news emerged of his involvement in the tragedy.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation."
Tributes appeared on Twitter feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect Pro12.
The Lions post read: "All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother. Reportedly died in accident."
The post on the Pro12 account read: "Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words."
- Nevin Spence
- Ulster Rugby