A prominent Tamworth family has been left devastated and Newcastle’s rugby league community is in mourning after a trip to Bali ended in tragedy for talented sportsman and “true champion” Anthony “Cav” Cavallaro.
News of the much-loved 29-year-old’s death filtered home earlier this week, with the family announcing Anthony died while on a boys’ trip in the Balinese resort village of Kuta.
His family confirmed to Fairfax Media on Thursday that Cav – as he was affectionately known – died in hospital on Monday after suffering from the effects of drowning.
He was rescued from the water the day before.
The family was in shock but sister Maria said they were “so proud” of Mr Cavallaro’s legacy.
The former McCarthy student moved to Newcastle more than a decade ago and most recently worked as a support worker for people involved in accidents.
“He lived to help other people,” Ms Cavallaro said.
“He always wanted to make a change in someone else’s life, and he did.”
Ms Cavallaro described her amateur boxer brother as a “true champion” who had lightning-fast wit and kept others in stitches with his sense of humour.
“He passed away a strong man, as he always was – that’s how I want people to remember him,” she said.
His mother, Cathy, added: “I’m so proud that he’s touched so many lives.”
University of Newcastle Rugby League Club president Shaun Johnston said Mr Cavallaro was a tough player on the footy field with a “kind soul” off of it.
He played for the club between 2007 and 2011 and was part of the premiership-winning 2008 Tertiary Cup side.
He lived to help other people.Maria Cavallaro.
Mr Cavallaro was a “favourite son” and a “wonderful athlete with speed and agility that left opponents grasping at air”, the club posted on Facebook.
“He was the first bloke to put an arm around you in good times and bad,” Mr Johnston told the Herald on Thursday.
The Cavallaro family said funeral details were still being finalised.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular assistance had been provided to Mr Cavallaro’s friends and family.
The family returned home on Thursday after flying to Indonesia.