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Tragedy as cousin of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti dies aged 19

Tragedy when Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s cousin dies aged 19 just days before the Bombers star surprised the AFL with his early retirement, and they even shared the same nickname.

  • Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has been hit by a family tragedy this month
  • His younger cousin, Nicholas-Roma Tipungwuti, passed away on May 14.
  • The 19-year-old died of a sudden illness and was set to join the Navy.
  • He shared the same nickname with his cousin, who retired from the AFL last week.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s family has been hit with tragedy following the sudden death of his young cousin.

Nicholas-Roma Tipungwuti, 19, died of sudden illness on May 14, just days before his star cousin from Essendon surprised the AFL with his early retirement.

Nicholas-Roma was a budding football talent, playing for the Sandgate Hawks in Queensland. His teammates knew him as ‘Tippa’, the same nickname used by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti during his career.

The 19-year-old was born in Darwin and grew up on a small station in the Tiwi Islands, known as the Ranku community, with his parents, older siblings and extended family.

Tipungwuti was raised in Brisbane and attended several Catholic primary schools before attending St Patricks College. She discovered her passion for volleyball in high school, but AFL was always her first love.

He was set to head to Cairns for training next month after being accepted into the Australian Navy, before his tragic passing.

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's family has been hit by tragedy following the death of his cousin

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s family has been hit by tragedy following the death of his cousin

“Tippa enjoyed fishing with her family and hunting with her brothers, nephews and cousins, as well as swimming in the local watering hole with her nieces and nephews,” her sister Nikkita told the Northern Territory News.

‘He traveled through the Tiwi Islands on both sides, through the four communities leaving behind his contagious smile and outgoing personality.

“He will be greatly missed by the four communities of the Tiwi Islands because he was a caring, outgoing and courageous young man who cared for many and gave everyone anything even when he had little.”

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti ended his AFL career last week with shocking news for Essendon Football Club and the wider football community.

Nicholas-Roma Tipungwuti died on May 14 after a sudden illness at just 19 years old.

Nicholas-Roma Tipungwuti died on May 14 after a sudden illness at just 19 years old.

With the club’s season in tatters, fans were hoping the man they call ‘Tippa’ or ‘Walla’ would come to their rescue after taking personal leave in 2021 and dealing with a calf injury.

In the end, family adversity, racism, injury and pressure from afar have conspired to prematurely close the curtain on the career of one of the AFL’s great performers.

“The Bombers gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing in the AFL,” the 29-year-old said last Friday.

His cousin, Anthony, called off his AFL career last Friday and said goodbye this weekend.

His cousin, Anthony, called off his AFL career last Friday and said goodbye this weekend.

I have loved my time at the club and am very proud of what I have been able to achieve in my AFL career.

“I am also proud of my education, coming to Victoria was to continue my education and that has been very important to me as well.

“The club and my teammates have been very supportive throughout my career, but now I am very happy to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

I am prepared for life beyond football. I wish all the boys the best for their future, I’ll be watching from afar.

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