Legend’s heartbreak over ‘troubled soul’


"No parent should have to bury a child".

It's an old saying that is unfortunately mentioned every time a son or daughter's time comes to an end before their parents.

The pain of losing a child is unimaginable for those of us who have never, and hope to never, encounter the moment.

For AFL legend Michael Tuck that moment sadly came on Monday when his son Shane died at the age of 38.

The tragic news broke hearts across the entire AFL community as an outpouring of emotion spilt across screens right around the country.

A report on Tuesday by the Daily Mail indicated Tuck had fought and ultimately lost a long-running battle with depression. A former Hawthorn great told the publication: "They knew at Hawthorn and they knew it at Richmond."

"He was a troubled soul right from the start," the unnamed former Hawk said. "He struggled with serious mental illness for a long, long time."

RELATED: Tuck overcame 'bloody hard' start

A heartbroken Michael Tuck spoke about the "issues" his son had and how he sadly couldn't overcome them.

"He was a big, strong kid and he just had a few issues and he couldn't get rid of them and that was the only way out," Michael said to the Herald Sun.

The president of the local footy club where he finished his career in Adelaide said attempts were made to help the troubled star.

"A couple of people within the club were aware (of his battles) and were supporting him," Goodwood president Craig Scott told the Herald Sun. "Covid was terrible because it just isolates people so much."

Shane and Michael Tuck.
Shane and Michael Tuck.

Tuck's AFL career started in the same number 17 jumper at the same club (Hawthorn) where his father had etched out his illustrious career.

But after being released and a stint in the SANFL, he was picked up by the Tigers in the 2003 National Draft.

It was in the famous yellow and black where he forged his own path in the league and became a key member of Richmond's midfield over a decade.

As news surrounding the fallen Tigers star's mental health battles come to light, his father made an impassioned plea to those who are struggling to speak up and seek help.

"You've got to show … it's not a weakness, it's just to express yourself with honesty and don't try to cover up things," he said.

"He didn't mean anything by it, he just couldn't admit he had a real bad problem."

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Tributes poured in from former teammates and coaches who remembered Tuck as a "footballer's footballer".

"Thoughts with the Tuck and extended family tonight," Tigers champion Matthew Richardson said. "As a teammate Shane gave everything. What more can u ask."

"Rest In Peace Great Man! One of the hardest at it I've played with."

Former Tigers coach Terry Wallace said on SEN Radio: "He was such a lovely guy. I couldn't speak more volumes about him. He was the typical country lad.

"A very, very, loveable person and one of the great characters around that football club at the time."

You can read Michael Tuck's full interview with the Herald Sun right here.

Originally published as Legend's heartbreak over 'troubled soul'

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