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Sports journalist dies less than three months after retirement aged 67

Ian LaybournA sports journalist has died aged 67 less than three months after his retirement.

Tributes have been paid to Ian Laybourn, who covered rugby league for five decades.

Ian, pictured, started out at the Batley News and later moved to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

He joined the Press Association in 1994 as a sub-editor and continued to covered the sport until November last year, when he retired at the conclusion of the Rugby League World Cup.

Ian estimated he had covered almost 2,500 rugby league matches for PA by the time of his retirement.

PA sports editor Ashley Broadley told Love Rugby League: “Ian was an outstanding reporter, with a deep understanding and love for the sport of rugby league.

“We are all devastated at the news and are thinking of Ian’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Ian had been added to the Rugby Football League Roll of Honour in 2022 when Ralph Rimmer, then the RFL chief executive, thanked him for covering the sport “with diligence, wisdom and care for almost five decades”.

Love Rugby League editor James Gordon said: “In shock at this terribly sad news.

“Ian was the pinnacle of rugby league journalism for the whole time I’ve been involved in it, and I am grateful for the time and respect he afforded me.”