The St George and Sutherland Shire rugby league community is in mourning after the death of former Dragons and Sharks hero Lance Thompson.
Thompson was found dead at his Cronulla unit on Thursday night after police and paramedics were called to his home.
A report was being prepared for the coroner but police said there were no suspicious circumstances or evidence of self harm.
Thompson was 40.
A two-time Australian Schoolboys representative and Hurstville United junior, Thompson made his first grade debut for St George as a 17-year-old while still a student at Kingsgrove High School in 1995.
He went on to play 239 games for St George and St George Illawarra including two grand finals – the Dragons’ 1996 loss to Manly and St George Illawarra’s defeat to Melbourne three years later.
He enjoyed a 14-season first grade career, his final three with Cronulla after he joined the Sharks for the start of the 2006 campaign.
Thompson played 38 games in the black, white and blue before announcing his retirement due to an ongoing knee injury as well as being diagnosed with type one diabetes.
He also represented City Origin five times.
Thompson was a fan favourite at Jubilee Oval and Shark Park, with both St George Illawarra and Cronulla to wear black armbands and pay tribute to him before their home matches on Sunday.
St George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust expressed his condolences on behalf of the club.
“Lance was a colourful, earnest rugby league character and a loyal friend of many at the Dragons,” he said.
“We are all are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts are with his family.”
Sharks Football CEO Barry Russell also paid tribute to Thompson.
"The club is deeply saddened by Lance's passing,” he said.
“He was loved and respected by all at the club and our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.”
As well as living in the Sutherland Shire, Thompson had a successful business enterprise in the area and was a close friend to many current and former Sharks and Dragons players.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan cancelled a planned media conference on Friday morning.
Former Queensland prop and shire resident Darryl Brohman, NRL commentator Andrew Voss and ARLC chairman Peter Beattie were among those to express their condolences on social media.