An international rugby star has died aged 33.
Billy Guyton, a talented halfback in New Zealand rugby, played for the Blues, Crusaders, and Hurricanes in Super Rugby.
His career was sadly cut short in 2018 due to concussion symptoms, leading to his premature retirement.
Tragically, it’s now been confirmed that Guyton has passed away.
Watch Billy Guyton in action below…
The rugby community in New Zealand has been shaken by the news of Guyton’s sudden passing on Monday.
Tasman Rugby shared the news of Guyton’s death through a social media post, expressing their deep sadness and extending condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
They wrote: “It is with great sadness to hear of the passing of Billy Guyton (a 52-game Mako player, and recent coach of our FPC Mako team), it said.
“Billy was a much-loved member of our whole Tasman Rugby Union team and had a positive impact on those he played alongside and coached.
“Billy has been a major contributor to the development of women’s rugby across our Tasman region.
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“Our condolences and aroha are extended to Billy’s whāanau, friends and colleagues during this sad time.”
A cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
Guyton was highly regarded in rugby circles and had a positive impact on those he played alongside and coached.
He also contributed significantly to the development of women’s rugby in the Tasman region.
Originally from South Canterbury, Guyton began his provincial career with North Otago from 2010 to 2012 before moving to Tasman, where he made 52 appearances between 2013 and 2017.
Guyton made one appearance each for the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Super Rugby.
He joined the Blues in 2016, playing 24 games for the franchise over two seasons.
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In the same year, he earned a spot on the Māori All Blacks’ tour of the northern hemisphere, starting against Munster and featuring as a substitute against Harlequins.
The Blues has expressed their shock and sadness at the tragic loss of Billy Guyton, acknowledging his talent as a rugby player and sending their sincere sympathy to his family and friends.
They said in a statement: “We are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Billy Guyton.
“He was a talented rugby player, who made 24 appearances for the Blues between 2016-2017.
“We cannot imagine the heartache his family and friends must be feeling at this difficult time. To everyone who knew Billy, we send them our sincere sympathy.”
Guyton retired from rugby in 2018 to prioritise taking care of his then-two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Uri.
The persistent concussion symptoms prevented him from fully participating in activities with his daughter, leading him to make the difficult decision to leave the sport.
Guyton acknowledged the challenges of this choice but believed it was the best decision for his health and family.
Describing his symptoms, Guyton mentioned experiencing all-day headaches after contact training, increased fatigue, and sensitivity to stimuli such as loud noises.
These symptoms prompted him to consult former players who had also suffered head injuries and were experiencing difficulties later in life.
Witnessing their struggles, he said, made it easier for him to step away from rugby.
He emphasised the importance of being present for his daughter during her exploratory phase and highlighted the unpleasantness of dealing with symptoms like headaches, nausea, and blurry or double vision.
In 2022, Guyton embarked on a coaching role as an assistant coach for the Tasman Union women’s provincial team.
He guided the Marist side to victory in the senior women’s competition, showcasing his dedication to the sport even after his playing career had ended.
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