The AFLW has been left in shock after news emerged 2017 premiership winner Heather Anderson died at the age of 28.
The former army medic became the first Northern Territory-based player drafted by the Adelaide Crows with the 10th pick of the 2016 Draft, ahead of the first season of the AFLW.
The details of her death are not yet known.
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Anderson had immediate success as part of the Crows, playing eight games for Adelaide and winning the inaugural AFLW premiership.
But in the grand final, she suffered a dislocated shoulder which required a second surgery on her right shoulder within a year.
Because of her injury, Anderson was delisted by the Crows and was not redrafted, announcing her indefinite retirement from the AFL.
Anderson was a fan favourite, wearing a distinctive pink headgear, which she explained was so her vision-impaired mother could spot her.
In a statement, AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone expressed her sympathy to Anderson’s family and friends, calling the former star a “much-loved and respected teammate”.
“Words cannot express the deep sadness among the AFL and AFLW community at this time. Our sincerest condolences are to the Anderson family,” Livingstone said.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to express my deepest compassion to Heather’s family, friends and colleagues.”
The Crows AFLW Twitter account also released a short statement.
“The Adelaide Football Club is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Premiership player Heather Anderson. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends,” the statement read.
Former Crows forward Sarah Perkins took to social media in tribute, posting a photo of Anderson with the caption “family forever” and three love hearts in the Crows colours.