FORMER teammate Michael Ennis has led rugby league's outpouring of support for Brett Kimmorley after he lost his wife Sharnie to brain cancer.
Sharnie, 38, leaves behind Kimmorley and their four young daughters, Maddie, Mia, Ava and Ivy. They were by her side when she died during the week.
Figures from across the game have paid tribute to Sharnie, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in June last year.
Speaking on Fox Sports' Thursday Night League coverage, Ennis gave an insight into the Kimmorleys' battle over the past months.
Ennis and his own wife Simone were particularly close with the couple, having first spent time together when Ennis first played alongside Kimmorley at the Bulldogs, then when both families made their homes in the Shire.
"(Sharnie) fought as hard as she could until the end, and in the end the illness got her," Ennis said.
"It's just a real tragic time for Brett and the four young girls. We are lucky in these situations to have rugby league around us, and he (Brett) has got plenty of support in that regard, but it's a difficult time for everyone, especially Brett and his four girls."
Kimmorley's former clubs Melbourne, Canterbury and Cronulla all offered their condolences when the news broke, as well as NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and a number of current and former players.
Plans are under way for a tribute to be made during this weekend's round-four action.
Ex-Sharks teammate and rugby league identity Matty Johns also paid his respects on Friday morning.
"One thing about Brett Kimmorley, he's one of the best family men I've ever seen," Johns said on Triple M's Grill Team.
"While we'd finish a game sometimes and some of us other bozos would go out and have a beer - he never would.
"Even when he was doing it tough. I remember once at the Sharks, he was sitting there with Sharnie and I said 'come on mate, let's go out, you and me will have a beer'.
"And he said, 'no, I'm just going to go home with Sharnie'. That's what he was like.
"It's just not fair. But those four girls, if they need a father to look after them and they need strength - they've got the right one. He's a strong-minded, tough little fella, a terrific bloke.
"Your heart just breaks for the family."
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