Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Haas has posted a heartfelt tribute to his older brother Chace, who has passed away at the age of 21.
Chace was left a ventilated quadriplegic after his spinal cord was severed in a car accident when he was just five months old. His mother, Joan, who was pregnant with Payne, was also in the car.
“Confused atm (at the moment) but I know you won’t want me down just going to soldier on till my heart stops like you did! I love you forever my best friend, My role model but most importantly my big brother,” Payne wrote in an Instagram post.
“Going to miss our banter and seeing your big smile whenever I come home to see you but I know you’re going to be watching over all of us every step of the way.
“Thanks for being there for me when no one else was, I’m going to carry your name with me everywhere I go. I did this for you before this happened and I’m going to keep doing this for you.
“Staunchest person I’ve ever met I’m missing you already honestly, Ride or Die my Hitta I’ll see you soon. Say hello to grandma for me as well.”
Speaking to NRL.com in the lead-up to his State of Origin debut in 2019, Payne revealed the ongoing hurt from the accident.
“I wish it was me,” Payne said.
“If I could go back and put myself in the situation he was in, I’d take that burden for him. I would love to see him live the life I am. I’d sit in that chair for the rest of my life to see him walk.
“Sometimes I cry in my room. I pray sometimes that things were never like that. I wish he was running around like us. Dad used to show us photos of how Chace was on life support. I’ve got life pretty easy. My brother knows real struggle.”
Chace revealed at the time how much Payne’s Origin debut meant.
“When he runs on the field, he takes all of us with him,” he said.
“Every day I look up to my little bro. Every time I see him on TV he makes me really happy. He’s 100 per cent my hero. I will always protect him, no matter what.”