TRIBUTES have been paid to former Saints junior player and Leigh Miners Rangers under 18s coach Danny Rigby after his sad passing.

Leigh Miners broke the sad news at the weekend – and immediately there was a response of shock, sadness and affection from across the rugby league community at all levels.

Danny had played and coached the game all of his life – and from the multitude of heartfelt tributes pouring in he had made plenty of friends who expressed numbness at his passing.

Leigh Miners Rangers posted: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the sad and untimely passing of one our u18 coaches Danny Rigby.

“Our heartfelt condolences and love go to wife Tracey, dad Tommy, siblings Darren & Donna and all of the Rigby family and friends at this terribly sad time #RIPDannyRigby.”

Danny was a former Academy player at St Helens and that club left its own tribute yesterday.

“The thoughts of everyone at St Helens is with Danny’s family and friends at this sad time. #onceasaintalwaysasaint,” they said.

The Sculthorpe family paid their respects, with former Saints skipper Paul tweeting his condolences.

He wrote: “Devastated...played with Danny all the way through as kids, but more importantly always stayed in touch since as valued friends. Only spoke to him last week when he proudly completed a challenge for @stateofmindsprt ...if only he would have spoken up. RIP Tippex mate xx.”

Danny, too, expressed his complete sadness at the news.

“Absolutely devastated, been chatting quite a bit with him over the last 12/15 months, just done a year long charity event for charity. @stateofmindsprt was one of them!!!! Can’t stop thinking about him and his family. RIP mate x.”

Linda Sculthorpe added: “Absolutely devastated to read this news Danny was a lovely man who always had a smile on his face whenever we saw him...RIP Danny.”

There have been plenty of messages from his former teammates.

Chris Naylor wrote: “Devastating to hear the news. Played with @RigbyDanny at Saints Academy so many good memories, reconnected a few years ago. Thoughts with his family.”

Former Castleford prop Andy Lynch tweeted from Australia: “This is so sad to wake up to what a top bloke Danny was and had so many laughs when he came to Cas he will be missed so much #ripdan devastating.”

Saints former Academy coach Nick Halafihi sent his condolences, adding: “I have fond memories of you playing in the Saints Academy. Rest in peace my friend.”

Another ex-Saints junior Dave Radley: “Gutted to see this, used to travel up to Saints with Danny for training years ago... never a journey where he didn’t have us in stitches, was always full of life. Massive loss and gone far too soon!”

Ex-Saints prop Nick Fozzard sent his condolences too.

“Rest easy big man, so sad to hear this news,” he wrote.

Halton Farnworth Hornets were among the dozens of community clubs from across the country sending messages.

“Sending love to everyone at the Miners from everyone at the Hornets. A terrible loss to the community of Leigh.

“A great rugby league man who gave so much to the sport.”

And there has even been tributes from the match officials.

Referee Dom Breslin tweeted: “Very sad to hear - refereed Danny’s sides many times over the years and always had a laugh and a joke.

“Thoughts with Danny’s family, friends and all at @leighminersrl.”

Salford Super League centre Krisnan Inu left a tribute on Twitter.

“Condolences to Danny’s wife and his family.. nice man. Was really friendly and super nice when I brought my little bro in-law to the club.”

And Phil Collinson expressed what a lot of his friends and colleagues are thinking right now.

He tweeted: “Just numb to hear this. Danny was an unreal character who no-one had a bad word about.

“He only made people laugh and smile and we all are genuinely better people for having known him. RIP Danny #MentalHealth In these times please talk to one another.”