A young North Queensland Cowboys squad member is dead after a mystery incident that left him in intensive care.
The rugby league club confirmed Alex Elisala, 20, died in Mackay District Hospital on Monday afternoon where he had been on life support.
"Our thoughts are with Alex's family and friends. Alex will be sorely missed at Cowboys HQ," the club said on its official Twitter account.
"We'd ask everyone to act and react with kindness and compassion and respect the privacy of Alex's family and friends as this time."
Mr Elisala played for Logan Brothers as a junior before he moved to the North Queensland Cowboys where he played his first Toyota Cup in 2010.
He joined the senior squad as a hooker this year and made his debut for Samoa's National Rugby League team just 10 days before his death.
Tributes started flowing to the young football player as soon as news of his death broke with many praising Mr Elisala's character as well as his skill on the field.
"Rest in Peace to one of our Samoan Uso's," One Facebook user wrote.
"Alex Elisala . for those who dont know him he's one talented young player climbing his way to the top.
"Plays for Toa Samoa and the Cowboys. Such a big loss to the League industry.
"Alex watching you on telly, makes us so proud because we know that you are of Samoan blood.
"You are an amazing and talented guy. Prayers and Condolences to the family.
"Rest In Paradise Alex."
Another simply posted "rest easy and fly high".
Earlier on Monday Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain pleaded for privacy for the family while the club used its Twitter account to debunk rumours of a balcony fall.
"We ask that everyone gives their thoughts and prayers to Alex at this difficult time," Mr Jourdain said.
"We will keep everyone updated on the situation and ask that you respect the privacy of Alex's family and friends."
Within minutes of posting the statement on the North Queensland Cowboys website, the club's Twitter account was used to dispute a story.
The ABC story re balcony fall is incorrect. Can everyone please just be patient, and show some decency and compassion for Alex's family. — NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) April 29, 2013
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