Second British rugby player dies on tour in Sri Lanka

Second British rugby player dies on tour in Sri Lanka

Two British rugby players on a tour of Sri Lanka have died just a couple of days apart.

One died shortly after being admitted to hospital less than two hours later.

The club confirmed the names of the Durham players in a statement which said: "The Howard and Baty families have requested that their right to privacy is respected".

Thomas Howard, 25, and Thomas Baty, 26, both suffered breathing difficulties after returning from a nightclub in Colombo on Sunday.

Mr Baty, who was in critical condition, passed away today.

The men, both from Durham in northeast England, were in Sri Lanka with their teammates from their local rugby team Clems Pirates RFC, where alongside friendly matches, they were also engaged in charity work.

After the match, the team visited a night club and returned to their hotel in small groups early Sunday, police said.

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The judicial medial officer gave an open verdict and sent body samples for further analysis, police said.

The team arrived in Sri Lanka on May 9 and began the tour with a game against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CR & FC) in Colombo.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the club requested that the privacy of their families be "respected and upheld at this hard time".

In a statement released on Monday following the announcement of Mr Howard's death, Durham City RFC president Richard Wilkinson said: 'Both players and Clems Pirates hold a special place in our rugby family, and our continued support is unconditional.

Clems Pirates are described as a veterans' team who raise money for charities in the United Kingdom and overseas.

The British embassy said in a short statement it was assisting the players' families and was in touch with local medical services.