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  1. ITV Report

Second British rugby player mysteriously dies in Sri Lanka

Tom Baty, 27 and teammate Thomas Howard, aged 26 both suffered breathing difficulties. Credit: DCRFC

A second player from a British rugby club visiting Sri Lanka has died, two days after being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties, police said.

Tom Baty, 27, was pronounced dead on Tuesday, the police spokesman’s office said.

He and teammate Thomas Howard, aged 26, suffered breathing difficulties on Sunday and Howard died shortly after being admitted to hospital.

The pair had travelled to Sri Lanka to tour with one of Durham City Rugby Football Club's teams called the Clems Pirates.

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Their breathing issues were not rugby-related, the club said.

The club confirmed the names of the Durham players in a statement which said: "The Howard and Baty families have requested that their right to privacy is respected."

Durham City RFC president Richard Wilkinson said: "On behalf of all members and friends of the DCRFC family we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Thomas Howard."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you all," he said.

"Both players and Clems Pirates hold a special place in our rugby family, and our continued support is unconditional."

Both men played rugby for Durham City RFC. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The 22-strong party from Durham City club visited Sri Lanka last Thursday and played a friendly against a local club two days later.

The following morning two players fell ill and were taken to hospital, police said.

Howard’s post-mortem examination on Tuesday did not show any injury or illness to have caused his death.

The judicial medial officer gave an open verdict and sent body samples for further analysis, police said.

The British embassy said in a short statement it was assisting the players’ families and was in touch with local medical services.