Jack Vidgen has paid tribute to Australia’s first openly gay bobsled player and Sydney Convicts Rugby club representative Simon Dunn following his sudden death.
Police and his agent Ruby Rose Management both confirmed the death of the 35-year-old, who broke new ground in both sports, on Monday.
Jack, 26, shared a series of photos of Simon to his Instagram story and wrote: ‘Woke up to some very sad news today.’
Jack Vidgen (pictured) has paid tribute to Australia’s first openly gay bobsled player Simon Dunn following his shock death aged just 35
‘Rest easy darling,’ he said.
Police confirmed Simon’s death in a statement on Monday.
‘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,’ New South Wales police said.
Dunn travelled to Canada for work and found a new love in bobsledding, representing Australia in the North American Cup.
Jack, 26, shared a series of photos of Simon to his Instagram story and wrote: ‘Woke up to some very sad news today’
He would ultimately link with the Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby team that competes in the Sydney Suburban Rugby Union championship, and the Kings Cross Steelers in London.
In 2021, Dunn attempted a comeback on the bobsled and announced his plans to represent Australia at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, only for a serious biceps injury to force him into early retirement.
His efforts would lead to nominations for the Australian LGBTI Awards Sports Personality of the Year both in 2018 and 2019.
Along with his sporting accolades, Dunn was also well known for his community work, LGBTIAQ+ advocacy and work in the arts.
Police and his agent Ruby Rose Management both confirmed the death of the 35-year-old, who broke new ground in both sports, on Monday
He also called out former Wallaby Israel Folau on Sky News for his controversial comments that all gay people were going to hell.
‘There is still homophobia in sport. It’s a culture that has been created and embedded over decades and I think we’re still at the tail end of that with the work we need to do to put an end to it,’ Dunn said at the time.
‘Rugby is a more accepting sport but most of the negative feedback [is] from football supporters.’
Dunn also attracted media attention for kissing his then-partner after the Sydney Convicts had won their grand final.
Dunn had also previously openly spoken about his struggles, with his sexuality, mental health and coping with injury.
Dunn touched many lives in the community and the tributes were pouring in after his shock death aged just 35
Tributes are flowing for the much-loved athlete, friend, family member and LGBTIAQ+ advocate.
‘Totally heartbreaking hearing the sad news of the passing of Simon at 35,’ Paul Flanigan wrote.
‘My thoughts and deepest condolences goes out to his family and those closest to him. He will be missed in so many ways. A genuine, all-round nice guy, who had time for everyone.
‘True sportsman and for his valued views on LGBTQ+ community and passionate about giving back to the community.’
DJ and drag performer Kitty Glitter also posted a touching tribute.
‘I knew him as a young adorable teenager and watched him blossom into the beautiful man and talented outstanding sportsman. I am in shock and heartbroken … We all loved [him] dearly,’ she wrote.
‘Our community has lost one of the most genuinely kind-hearted sweethearts the world has ever been blessed with. My heart goes out to all of Simon’s family and friends. His loving energy and spirit shall live on through us always.’
Dunn was a keen athlete that wanted to make a difference in the world and leaves behind an enormous hole for all those that he touched in his life