Richmond triple-premiership superstar Dustin Martin is mourning the death of his father, the AFL club has confirmed.
Shane Martin, who was in his early 50s, died this week in New Zealand where he has been living since being deported from Australia on character grounds in 2016.
The cause of death is unknown.
“The Richmond Football Club can confirm the passing of Shane Martin, the father of player Dustin Martin,” the club said in a brief statement on Saturday.
“The club extends its heartfelt sympathy to Dustin, his brothers Bronson and Tyson and the entire Martin family.”
NZ Police went to a property on the street on which Shane Martin lived, where a man was found dead.
NZ Police said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Richmond granted Dustin Martin permission to fly overseas to visit his father in April when the travel bubble opened.
The pair shared a close bond but had not seen each other for 12 months prior to that visit because of travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s been a massive challenge, but it is what it is,” Martin told Fox Footy in March.
“I love my dad and he’s made me the man I am today.
“I’ve got full belief he’ll (be) back here to watch us win another flag.
“That’s my dream to be able to have the old man up there (in the grandstand) with the rest of my family and watch the Tiges win another flag.”
Dustin Martin began a running program in recent weeks after recovering from surgery to repair a lacerated kidney, which cut short his 2021 season.
The three-time Norm Smith Medal winner was expected to resume full-contact training in the new year, ahead of Richmond’s round-one meeting with Carlton on March 17.