Out gay former Australian bobsledder and rugby player Simon Dunn has died. He was just 35-years-old.
35-year-old Dunn became the first openly gay athlete to represent their country in bobsled. After retiring from the sport in 2016 he took up rugby and regularly played for the Sydney Convicts – an all-gay team.
A police spokesperson said: “About 10 am on Saturday, January 21, 2023, police were called to a unit on Crown Street, Surry Hills, after reports the body of a man had been found inside.
“The body is believed to be that of the 35-year-old occupant. Officers from Surry Hills Police Area Command have commenced inquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death, which is not being treated as suspicious.”
We’re deeply saddened to learn of Simon Dunn’s death aged just 35.
Simon gave his time freely and generously for the many causes he believed passionately in and we’re very grateful that included Terrence Higgins Trust and National HIV Testing Week.
“Simon was passionate about giving back to the community and volunteering, he gave his time, and utilising his profile, to help multiple charities,” Dunn’s team at Ruby Rose Management said in a statement.
“Simon never said no to donating his time to any organisation who wanted to grow its diversity and inclusion footprint, from Woolworths to Lion – helping them all to better understand their LGBTQIA+ employees and customers.
“Simon represented us all, he always said ‘I am not the spokesman, I am just a gay white male telling you about my experiences, and experiences from those with whom I listened and learnt’.
“He has left his loving and supporting mother, sister, nephews and niece.”
Such sad news from Sydney. Our sincere condolences go out to all Simon Dunn’s family and friends.
He was playing for @KXSteelers when he shared a “victory kiss” photo in 2018 that went viral, at a time when an Australian rugby star was making headlines for homophobia. /1 pic.twitter.com/vxYP2aR4eQ
Dunn was shortlisted for the Australian LGBTI Awards Sports Personality of the Year award in 2018 and 2019, saying just last year: “For me, my passion will always be working for my community and advocacy organisations plus exploring further ways I can contribute”.
He made a return to bobsled in 2021 in an attempt to qualify for the Winter Olympics in 2022, but was forced to withdraw due to injury, saying on Instagram at the time:
“Trust me, the recovery was long & painful. Unable to work, insurance companies finding any excuse not to help,” Dunn posted alongside a picture of him in hospital.
“I entered some pretty low places. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve referred to myself as a ‘failure’ or questioned my entire career.
“I’d find myself not being able to get out of bed, what was the point? Yet still I didn’t ask a doctor for help.
“If by sheer stupidity or thinking it wasn’t ‘manly’ to ask for help, Deep down though, I knew it’s exactly what I needed.
“I’m forever grateful for those close to me during this time, my support network shouldered the weight of what I was going though, when I should’ve just asked for help.”
Tributes to the athlete have been poring in on social media, led by his team The Sydney Convicts:
“We are devastated by the loss of Simon to our club and community, and share our deepest condolences with Simon’s family, friends and those who Simon brought love to over the years.”
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