"TOUGH, uncompromising on the field, he never let you down."
Those are the words of Bathurst Bulldogs president John Maynard after the tragic and unexpected passing of former club stalwart Ross Turnbull on Friday evening.
Turnbull, a popular figure within the club during a career spanning the best part of two decades, spent most of the day waterskiing at Ben Chifley Dam with his family before collapsing later in the evening.
An official cause of death has not been made public at this stage but it is understood the 40-year-old had suffered some health problems in recent years.
He leaves behind a wife, Rebecca, and two beautiful daughters, as well as a handful of shattered former team and club mates.
"He was great value off the field as well," Maynard said.
"He had two little girls and I just can't imagine what they and 'Reb' are going through at the moment, it is incomprehensible to try and say how they would be coping.
"He had a long connection with the club, he came through colts and I'm fairly certain he was in that squad which beat Dubbo in 1994 and heralded the start of a bit of a dynasty for us.
"He coached colts to a title in 1998 and Peter Richardson was part of that side. He would eventually be Ross' brother-in-law but he too passed away sadly some years back.
"Ross played for so many years with us, he came back for one last go in 2008 and made the grand final but a wrist injury got the better of him after that. He had a lot of links to the club and you could still see him out at Ashwood Park watching games often.
"I think this is going to hit a lot of people hard who played with Ross, particularly those guys in the 1990s teams and a few of the younger players who were starting when he came back in 2005 and 2008. He was in his 30s then and a bit of an elder statesman, someone all the younger players really looked up to."