Heartbroken family of young sports star break their silence after she was found dead aged just 29 – as her friends open up about the AFLW player’s struggles
- Tributes have poured in from devastated former teammates of Jacinda Barclay
- The AFLW, baseball and American football star died on Monday aged 29
- Barclay grew up in Perth playing AFL against the boys before turning to baseball
- Her family opened up about the death of their ‘beautiful and beloved’ daughter
- Former gridiron teammate Steph Mur didn’t know Barclay was struggling
- Teammate Kayla Lee said Barclay was ‘fighting demons none of us knew about’
The devastated family and friends of young sports star Jacinda Barclay have broken their silence after the 29-year-old was found dead on Monday at a home near Perth.
The AFLW star’s death has sent shock-waves through multiple sports across two continents and sparking an outpouring of grief.
Barclay played Aussie Rules, baseball and American football at elite levels and represented her country.
Her sudden death took teammates and rivals by surprise who said she was ‘battling demons no one knew’.
Barclay’s parents opened up about the tragic death of their ‘beautiful and beloved’ daughter on Wednesday afternoon.
‘She was a shining comet that soared through this world casting her radiant light of love on all she met,’ a family statement read.
The devastated family and friends of young sports star Jacinda Barclay have broken their silence after the 29-year-old was found dead on Monday at a home near Perth
The AFLW star died after a battle with ‘demons,’ sending shock-waves through multiple sports across two continents and sparking an outpouring of grief
Barclay, 29, played Aussie Rules, baseball and American football at elite levels and represented her country
Barclay’s friend Kayla Lee said Cinda (pictured) – as she was affectionately known to her friends – had the ‘biggest and brightest personality’
‘Though that comet has now shattered into a million pieces, the memory of it will remain a beacon of light for all women in high profile sports to strive to excel, to dare to be great while staying humble and proud.’
Steph Mur, who played gridiron with Barclay at the Chicago Bliss, told Daily Mail Australia she hadn’t seen the Perth-born sports star since the 2016 season came to an end, but the pair kept in touch.
‘I have nothing but amazing things to say about her. You would never know she was struggling,’ she said.
‘Although I can’t speak on recent times, I can’t recall a single time that she was down in the dumps.
‘She spoke highly of everyone and was one of the most inclusive people I had ever met.’
Ms Mur said Barclay ‘lived a life that most people could only imagine’.
‘She was every coach and players’ dream- a fearless leader full of positivity, vast knowledge, eagerness to grow and dedication to every team member. More importantly, she was an all-round badass person,’ she said.
Barclay’s friend Kayla Lee, who played alongside her in the Legends Football League, told Daily Mail Australia that Cinda – as she was affectionately known to her friends – had the ‘biggest and brightest personality’.
Talented Australian athlete Jacinda Barclay has died aged 29 – with friends saying she had ‘demons’
Barclay played 23 games with the Greater Western Sydney Giants, who said her ‘infectious personality made her a popular and unforgettable’
Barclay began playing American football in 2012, while living in Chicago. Her initial attempts to win a contract in the Legends Football League were thwarted by visa issues
‘Cinda loved everyone. She was always happy, smiling and joking around. She was unique and didn’t care what others thought of her,’ Ms Lee said.
‘She was always encouraging others, while working hard on herself.’
Ms Lee said gridiron had lost ‘one of the most vibrant, positive and spirited souls on this planet’.
‘Cinda has been one of my closest friends since we met seven years ago training and playing in the LFL.
‘She was a naturally talented multi-sport athlete, who was driven, ambitious and a leader that was fighting demons none of us knew about.’
‘Life is short. Don’t hold grudges or waste time on the unimportant things. Take care of people, tell them you love them and live every day to the fullest. Rest Easy Cinda, you will be dearly missed.’
WA Police Force confirmed Barclay was found unresponsive at about 4.35pm on Monday at a home in Chidlow – 45km east of Perth.
‘Police and St John Ambulance personnel attended the residence and upon arrival it was confirmed the 29-year-old woman was deceased,’ police said in a statement.
Barclay (second from right) played in the then-named Lingerie Football League in 2012
Barclay (right) grew up in Perth playing AFL before turning to baseball
Sports Barclay played professionally
Women’s AFL – Greater Western Sydney
American Football – Chicago Bliss
Baseball – The Emeralds
A report is being prepared for the Coroner.
Barclay is being remembered as a decorated cross-code athlete who pushed the boundaries for women in sport.
Barclay made her international baseball debut as a 17-year-old and won a silver medal at the 2010 World Cup before she played American football in Australia and the US between 2012 and 2016 and then turned her attentions to AFLW.
The talented sportswoman joined the competition in the Giants’ first season in 2017, playing a total of 23 games and kicking 11 goals in four campaigns.
Barclay began playing Australian Rules football at the age of 12 but concentrated on baseball in her teenage years.
The West Australian made her state baseball debut at the age of 15 at the 2006 national championships, and the following year was included in the national squad for the first time.
Barclay represented Australia’s national women’s baseball team the Emeralds at World Cups in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Her American football career included spells with the NSW Surge for the inaugural 2013-14 season of LFL Australia and as a quarterback led them to a title in the competition’s lone campaign.
Tributes have poured in from devastated former teammates of AFLW star Jacinda Barclay (pictured), who died on Tuesday aged 29
Kayla Lee, who played in Legends Football League with Barclay (third in line), said she woke on Wednesday to the ‘devastating news’ the sport had lost ‘one of the most vibrant, positive and spirited souls on this planet’
Former LFL teammate Deena Fagiano (left) said her ‘goofy’ Australian friend would always be in her heart
Phoebe Monahan, who played with Barclay at the GWS Giants, wrote ‘Rest easy Barcs’ on Instagram on Wednesday morning
In 2016, Barclay was scouted by the Chicago Bliss for America’s Legends Football League and won a championship in her first season.
She returned to Australian Rules football when the AFLW began.
When she wasn’t competing on the field, Barclay worked as a technician on oil rigs, and as a ward clerk at a private hospital.
‘Any mature female athlete who wants to pursue sport has to juggle her career as well, so it’s nothing unusual for me, or that category,’ she told the AFLW website last year.
GWS released a statement on Wednesday morning about Barclay’s shock death.
‘Jacinda was a much-loved member of the Giants family and we are all devastated by her passing,’ Giants Chief Executive David Matthews said.
‘Jacinda gave up a great deal to follow her sporting dreams around the world and we are grateful that she called our club home for four years.
‘As an inaugural Giants AFLW player, Jacinda was a vital part of our club. More than that though, Jacinda’s spirit and infectious personality made her a popular and unforgettable member of the Giants family. She will always be a part of our club.’
AFL head of women’s football Nicole Livingstone said there are ‘few words’ to express her ‘sadness’ at this time.
‘Jacinda’s loss will be taken very hard by so many people within our game across all levels,’ she said.
‘On behalf of the AFL, I would like to express my deepest compassion to the Barclay family, friends and colleagues.’
Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale said Barclay made a ‘significant contribution’ to a number of sports both on and off the field.
Barclay made her state baseball debut for Western Australia at the age of 15 at the 2006 national championships
Barclay uploaded this photo of herself playing American football to her Instagram in 2016
When she wasn’t competing on the field, Barclay worked as a technician on oil rigs, and as a ward clerk at a private hospital
‘We are deeply shocked and saddened by Jacinda’s passing and the loss of a member of our tight-knit baseball community,’ Mr Vale said.
The AFL also offered their condolences to family, friends and teammates of Barclay.
Former LFL teammate Deena Fagiano said her ‘goofy’ Australian friend would always be in her heart.
‘Devastated, my heart is Broken. The world has lost the brightest light, most badass athlete, and amazing friend,’ Fagiano wrote.
‘I am honored to have had you in my life and play along side you. Your energy was Infectious and I will always be inspired by your determination.
‘Your bravery to travel around the world to lead a team you had never met always continues to impress me and I will always have incredible respect for you.’
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