Gloucester Rugby star Ed Slater diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 33

Gloucester Rugby player Ed Slater has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 33.

He has retired from rugby union with immediate effect, the club revealed in a statement today (21 July).

He was diagnosed after six months of testing.

In a statement, the club said: "Gloucester Rugby is deeply pained to announce that Ed Slater has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).

"Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week and as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester Rugby, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.

"Everyone at Gloucester Rugby - players, management and staff - are entirely committed to supporting Ed, his wife Jo and his three children in whatever way required. We know the same will be true of Gloucester and Leicester fans, and the wider rugby community."

The club has set up a JustGiving page in support of the Gloucester lock. It has already raised more than £6,000.

The club said: "The direction of these funds will be determined in due course, whether it be supporting Ed and his family directly and/or a selected MND charity.

Slater joined the Cherry and Whites in 2017, moving from Leicester Tigers where he had played for seven seasons.

Leicester said they were “extremely saddened” by the news, while Premiership Rugby tweeted: “Everyone at Premiership Rugby would like to offer their 100% support to Ed, his family and @gloucesterrugby We will support you @edslater in whichever is best for you and your family”.

Slater’s former Gloucester team-mate Danny Cipriani also offered support.

The Rugby Players’ Association tweeted: “The RPA team and members are extremely saddened to hear of the retirement of @edslater today due to MND diagnosis. He’s been an outstanding player for Gloucester and Leicester over his long and distinguished career.

“We will always be here to help and support Ed and his family as they face the challenges ahead, and will be on hand to provide our dedicated services for them through this difficult time.”