STEVE Prescott MBE, who died at 3am after a long, brave battle against cancer at the age 39, was a most remarkable man and a true inspiration.

Given just months to live when first diagnosed back in September 2006, the indefatigable fighter Steve refused to accept it.

His struggle against the rare abdominal cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, a disease that affects one in a million people, was heroic – and he was never going to play the role of cancer ‘victim’.

And backed by his wife Linzi all the way, father of two Steve fought this terrible disease tooth and nail.

In doing so he inspired the whole rugby league family and gave hope and inspiration to countless thousands of people.

Within months of undergoing his first major operation in late 2006 the former Saints, Hull and Ireland full back was thinking how he could best tackle his illness head on.

And after setting up the Steve Prescott Foundation, he began the first of what would become a series of increasingly gruelling challenges when he walked from Hull to Old Trafford to deliver the match ball to the 2007 Grand Final.

The challenges came thick and fast – and after another Transpennine walk the following year, Steve was ready to crank it up a notch.

And adopting the mantra that ‘a challenge is not a challenge unless it is challenging’ Steve tackled his first London Marathon in April 2008.

That would not be the last marathon he would undertake – and just to make it even more difficult he did a unique double back to back one.

Along with ex-Saints skipper Paul Sculthorpe, Steve ran the Paris and London Marathons on consecutive Sundays and in the week between cycled north to Calais, and threw in a rowing boat crossing of the English Channel to boot.

But that was Steve – no challenge was insurmountable. Who else would throw a three peaks challenge into a Lands End to John O'Groats bike ride - and that is how he tackled his illness.

Steve’s boundless energy and bravery received recognition and countless awards, including the MBE, but that was not why he did it.

Steve had a desire to show people that cancer would not stop him – and should not stop others – from living their lives.

He always had hope – even in the weeks before his death.

Steve was born in Nutgrove, St Helens on Boxing Day 1973.

A sporty child, good footballer with a good turn of pace Steve finally opted for rugby as a teenager.

A pacy full back as a player, Steve overcame numerous barriers and criticism that he was too small but was backed to the hilt by then A team coach Frank Barrow.

And it was a proud day in the Prescott household when he followed in the footsteps of his father Eric in signing for Saints in 1992.

He soon established himself in the first team and his crowning glory came in Shaun McRae’s double winning team in 1996.

Steve grabbed two tries in the Wembley win over Bradford Bulls and then joined the big Saints contingent on the Great Britain tour to New Zealand.

And he won another cup winners medal with his hometown team the following year.

But that was his last medal as a player, with Steve transferred to Hull at the beginning of 1998, where his swashbuckling running style soon earned him status as a firm fans favourite.

After a disappointing year at Wakefield, Steve returned to his second home, Humberside, for another successful spell with a World Cup call up for Ireland coming in between.

His playing career was cut short when he broke his knee-cap playing for Lancashire against Yorkshire, but he did make a return to the game he loved.

After a stint with the RFL disciplinary panel, Steve joined the coaching staff at Saints academy.

He was still working up there with the Saints and Rochdale youngsters until his health deteriorated further over the past year.

Steve’s enthusiasm was infectious and throughout all his pain, he always had a smile.

It was not simply about fighting cancer – he wanted people around him to see what they could achieve and he wanted them to be proud. He set up the Pride in St Helens Awards to do just that – celebrate the good things that people could achieve especially in his home town of St Helens.

Steve will leave a lasting legacy – one which shows us how to live our lives, achieve and never give up no matter what the odds.

Steve Prescott truly was one in a million.