Sports

Terry Newton: First Athlete to Test Positive for HGH Commits Suicide

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September 26 - Former British rugby league international Terry Newton has been found hanged following being given a two-year ban after becoming the first athlete in the world to test positive for human growth hormone (HGH).

Newton, 31, was sacked by Wakefield earlier this year after being handed a two-year suspension from the game by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKADA) after testing positive for HGH in an out-of-competition test in November 2009.

The positive test was hailed as a breakthrough in the war against doping by anti-drugs campaigners.

It is thought he took his own life after becoming depressed over both his career and private life.

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A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Police were called to a house on Harswell Close in Orrell, Wigan, following a report of concern for his welfare.

"Officers went to the address and found the body of a 31-year-old man.

"Inquiries have been launched, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death."

Rugby League declared itself in mourning as tributes flooded in. Newton, a father of two young girls, was known as one of the more colourful characters in the game.

Rugby Football League chairman Richard Lewis said: "We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Terry's untimely death.

"This is a personal tragedy and our thoughts are with Terry's partner, his children and his family at this terrible time."

In June, Newton revealed that he hoped that UKADA would reduce the length of his ban so he could return to the sport.

He said: "Initially it didn't bother me that I wasn't playing rugby but now watching games it is starting to sink in.

"I've made one of the biggest mistakes of my life and I know it is something I will regret for the rest of my life."

Wakefield coach John Kear was too upset to comment but the club issued a statement saying: "Wakefield Trinity Wildcats would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to Terry's family."

Newton, a hooker who also played for Leeds, Wigan and Bradford, represented Great Britain 15 times, scoring three tries and also won five England caps.