Rugby league player Terry Newton found dead

Terry Newton The 31-year-old was serving a two-year doping ban

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The former Great Britain rugby league player Terry Newton has been found dead at a house in Greater Manchester.

The 31-year-old is understood to have been found hanged at a house in Orrell, Wigan, on Sunday afternoon.

In February, the hooker was given a two-year suspension by the UK Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for a human growth hormone (HGH).

The former Leeds, Wigan and Bradford player then had his playing contract cancelled by Wakefield.

"Shortly after 2pm on Sunday 26 September 2010, police were called to a house on Harswell Close in Orrell, Wigan, following a report of concern for welfare," a Greater Manchester Police spokesman said.

"Officers went to the address and found the body of a 31-year-old man.

"Inquiries have been launched, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death."

Hopes of return

His death follows that of his younger sister, Leanne, who died of pneumonia last year.

Newton, a father-of-two, tested positive for the banned substance on 24 November 2009, after being asked to provide a blood sample during pre-season training with Wakefield.

He was believed to be one of the first athletes in the world to test positive for HGH.

Start Quote

We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Terry's untimely death”

End Quote Richard Lewis RFL chairman

In June, he spoke to BBC Radio 5 live about his hopes of returning to the game after his ban, which he hoped to get reduced.

"Initially it didn't bother me that I wasn't playing rugby but now watching games it is starting to sink in," he said.

"I've made one of the biggest mistakes of my life and I know it is something I will regret for the rest of my life."

Following the ban, he began running a pub in Wigan with his father-in-law.

Newton made 15 international appearances for Great Britain in a career spanning all 15 seasons of the Super League.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has issued a statement expressing its sadness at Newton's death.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Terry's untimely death," RFL chairman Richard Lewis said.

"This is a personal tragedy and our thoughts are with Terry's partner, his children and his family at this terrible time."

Tributes have already started appearing on a page set up in his memory on the social networking website, Facebook.

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