Tributes paid after sudden death of ‘popular’ and ‘kind’ rugby player, 19

Tributes have been paid following the heartbreaking death of a brilliant young rugby player.

Shakil Khaled, from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, Wales, was described as a "kind and "genuine" guy, and had played for his local club for many years.

Shakil, known as "Shak", was only 19 years old when he passed away on December 8.

The sportsman played in the prop position for Milford Haven RFC at a number of youth levels, and was expected to have a very bright future within the game.

Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire Coroner's Office told Wales Online it is currently examining the circumstances of his death.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed they are not conducting their own investigation.

The death of the teenager, who also worked at a local restaurant, has come as a huge shock – with many members of the Welsh rugby family offering their condolences on social media.

In a heartfelt message, rugby union side Scarlets wrote in a statement: "Thoughts with the family, friends and all at the club from everyone here at the Scarlets."

Speaking to WalesOnline, Kevin Jones, who coached Shakil at Milford Haven RFC from the age of eight, added: "He was very popular.

"He knew everybody in the town because he worked in a restaurant with his parents.

"He was so popular with all the boys in the team. Some boys can be a bit stroppy growing up, but he was always level-headed. Came from a great family.

"It's just tragic."

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In a statement, club chairman Mike Edds said: "As the chairman of MHRFC and on behalf of the committee, coaches, players and members we were shocked and saddened to hear the news that Shakil Khaled sadly passed away at the young age of 19.

"A popular playing member of our youth team known to all as ‘Shak’ he had played for the club at all age levels since he was eight, and was a member of the under 15’s Counties Cup winning team.

"Our thoughts are with his parents, family and friends at this very sad time.

"A kind and genuine young man, he will be greatly missed by all at the club."

A JustGiving fundraising page has been set up in his memory, which aims to raise money to build wells for clean water in Bangladesh.

At the time of writing, the page had raised just under £5,000.

It reads: "For lots of people in Bangladesh, the water is dirty and diseased. Families still drink it knowing it could kill them, but there is simply no other choice.

"We would like to help build multiple wells so that the families have access to clean and safe water."

You can donate to that page here.

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