Belfast Telegraph

Anthony Foley's family 'plunged into darkness' after death

By Jack Auston

The family of Anthony Foley say they have been "plunged into incomprehensible darkness" following the sudden death of the Munster head coach.

Foley was found dead at the age of 42 in his hotel room in Paris on Sunday ahead of Munster's scheduled European Champions Cup game at Racing 92, which was subsequently postponed.

In a statement released yesterday, the family said: "The family of Anthony Foley wishes to extend its deepest appreciation to the endless legions of friends and the wider rugby family here and abroad for the huge outpouring of support and sympathy since Anthony's tragic and most untimely passing at the weekend.

"With Anthony's passing, we have ultimately lost an amazing, adoring and loving father and husband; an equally caring, loyal and devoted son and brother; a central and go-to figure for the wider Foley and Hogan families.

"Our anguish at the sudden loss of Anthony is bottomless. We have been plunged deep into an incomprehensible darkness and sense of loss that we must work our way through over the coming days, weeks, months and years.

"We know, too, that his sudden death has brought the rugby worlds of Shannon RFC, Munster, Ireland and much further afield crashing down.

"You have lost a former player, coach, friend and all-round inspiration - your and our hero both. We mourn his loss together.

"We again wish to thank everyone for their support; it will help carry us through these darkest days.

"With regard to media, we thank you also for the sensitive way in which you have paid tribute to Anthony since the weekend but we do ask that our privacy and that of his close friends be respected over this tragic period."

Thousands of people have signed books of condolence at Munster's ground, Thomond Park, as well as other venues across Ireland, while Limerick's courthouse observed a minute's silence.

Foley, who was born in Limerick, won 62 caps for Ireland and appeared for Munster over 200 times before retiring in 2008 to move into coaching with the Province.

He held the position of head coach since replacing Rob Penney in 2014 and was tipped to take the Ireland hot-seat in the future.

Meanwhile, the authorities in France have begun a routine investigation into Mr Foley's death. French media outlets are reporting that a post-mortem examination is being carried out by police in order to determine the cause of Mr Foley's sudden death on Saturday night.

Such investigations into deaths in hotel rooms are normal in France, whenever the cause of a death is not immediately apparent.

A member of the French police, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP on Sunday night that an investigation into the former Irish international's death is underway.

A post-mortem examination in France normally takes between two and seven days to complete.

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