Jim Stynes (Getty Images / Mark Dadswell)
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Ireland-born Jim Stynes, a former Australian Rules football star and high-profile administrator, will have a state funeral to honor his memory and his contribution to charity work.
Victorian state Premier Ted Baillieu announced Wednesday that the 45-year-old Stynes, who died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, will have a state funeral at Melbourne's St. Paul's Cathedral on March 27, with the ceremony to be broadcast live to Federation Square, a public area across Flinders Street from the church service.
Stynes played his entire 12-year Australian Football League career from 1987 to 1998 with the Melbourne Football Club and was chairman of the Demons from 2008 until he resigned in February due to deteriorating health.
The Dublin-born Stynes played Gaelic football in Ireland before answering an advertisement in a local newspaper from the Demons seeking possible recruits from the Irish game. He arrived in Victo ria state in late 1984 and made his debut in the team's under-19 team the following year before going on to kick 130 goals in 264 matches as a ruckman for the senior side.
"Anybody who's conscious of the contribution that Jim Stynes made to football, and to the broader community over many years, would recognize that he held a really special place in the hearts of Victorians in particular," Baillieu said in making the announcement of the state funeral.
The club will honor Stynes at their fourth-round match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against the Western Bulldogs on April 22.
"They decided that they really didn't want to make it round one, because people will still be mourning the loss and it's pretty soon," Demons co-captain Jack Trengove said.
The Melbourne Football Club and The Reach Foundation, the youth charity organization Stynes co-founded, will hold a special "tribute hour" during the April 22 match.
Stynes, who was diagnosed with cance r in July 2009, is survived by is wife, Samantha, and their daughter Matisse and son Tiernan, who were with him when he died.
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