Dragons Director of Rugby Robert Beale has described finding out hooker Lloyd Burns has been forced to retire from the game after a neck injury and may need to undergo heart surgery as "a massive shock" and something that "will resonate throughout the rugby world".
27 year old Burns, who played a key role in Wales World Cup campaign last year has been forced to retire from all rugby with immediate effect, after tests on the neck injury that have kept him sidelined since January also revealed damage to a major artery in his heart.
In a statement Beale went on to say "everything Lloyd has achieved in life he has earned through hard work and dedication, his enforced retirement from the game has come as a massive shock to Lloyd and his family and will resonate throughout the rugby world."
"I am personally relieved that this serious condition has been identified off the field of play and would therefore like to thank our medical team at the Dragons, staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital and University of Wales Cardiff for all their efforts in ensuring Lloyd has and will continue to receive the highest standards of care."
Burns' rise to prominence on the international scene marked a momentous 2011 for the Panteg born player.
After making his mark in the domestic Premiership with Cross Keys, and then the Dragons, Burns cut short his wedding celebrations to make his international début against the Barbarians in June 2011, the day after getting married.
He went on to be named in Warren Gatland's squad for New Zealand, coming off the bench three times, starting once and scoring one try.
The WRU has thanked Burns for his "massive contribution" to Welsh rugby during his career.