Tears flow after dad’s ‘inevitable, heartbreaking’ death
HIS death may have been inevitable, but it hasn't eased the heartbreak felt by Adam Maher's friends and family.
The popular father-of-five and former NRL and Super League backrower's battle with Motor Neurone disease ended earlier this week, when he died aged 47.
His wife, Trudy, described her husband as "the most inspirational, loyal, amazing, funny man" who was loved by not just his family, but everyone he crossed paths with.
The pair were married in Currimundi in 2018, after Mr Maher's devastating diagnosis.
"Even though we knew this was the inevitable, it still is the hardest thing to deal with," Mrs Maher said.
"We are heartbroken and he's going to be so missed."
The former Cronulla Sharks and Hull FC player scored 25 tries and made more than 100 appearances for the Super League side.
Mr Maher and his family had lived on the Sunshine Coast since 2003, and he spent time as a player-coach of the Kawana Dolphins reserve grade side around 2006.
The Dolphins took to social media to pay tribute to their "much loved" former member.
"He played virtually his entire career with his heart on his sleeve and he was a great example of what a great rugby league player should be on the field," their post said.
"He was simply a warrior."
Long-time Dolphins member Paul Cohen said Mr Maher was "an absolute legend".
He said they'd had no idea of Mr Maher's playing background when he arrived at the club.
"He was just so humble," Mr Cohen said.
"Tough as nails but a true gentleman."
Mr Cohen said he'd left "such an impression on the boys" in just a few seasons.
"They had a great deal of respect for him as a person and a player," Mr Cohen said.
Former rugby league hardman Martin Lang, a former teammate of Mr Maher's paid tribute to his mate on Twitter.
"I moved to Sydney with Adam Maher when I was a teenager to begin our NRL careers," Mr Lang wrote.
"I idolised Adam. He was tough and kind … everything I wanted to be.
"He lost his brave battle with Motor Neurone Disease yesterday (Tuesday). My deepest condolences to Adam's family.
"Rest in peace Adam."
Mrs Maher said despite the devastating disease, her late husband had continued to support other mates suffering the same illness.
"We took it very hard at first as you would, but we got on with life, travelled a lot while we could and made many memories," she said.
Hull FC advised there would be a period of reflection to remember Mr Maher's life before their upcoming home game against Catalans Dragons this weekend.
Mr Maher's funeral will be held on Tuesday, March 3, at Wynnum Baptist Church at 12.30pm, with a wake to follow at Wynnum Manly Juniors.