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Australian footballer dies in fall from Flamingo Hotel balcony

John McCarthyAn investigation has been launched into the death of Australian Football League (AFL) player John McCarthy. The star reportedly fell from a balcony of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas and died. He is said to have become separated from his teammates on the first night of a trip at the end of the season.

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas confirmed that the 22-year-old died within 24 hours of arriving in Sin City. He said it wasn’t know why McCarthy became separated from the rest of the team after arriving in the city on Saturday or why he was at the Flamingo Hotel, as none of the players were staying there. The teammates weren’t even aware of his death until the club told them.

Thomas continued that Victoria Police told him McCarthy fell from a building. Last night, a television news programme cited a witness saying the star fell from a tree, while police in Las Vegas have been expected to make a statement. Thomas added that Port Adelaide players were getting ready to return home after the tragedy. They are being offered grief counselling, along with the club’s staff.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says that the death of McCarthy was a terrible tragedy for the family. It’s also very sad for Port Adelaide and the rest of the league to lose a young man in his prime.

The Flamingo Hotel and Casino is owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. A spokeswoman would only confirm that McCarthy was found outside the hotel on a paved area. The gentleman was unresponsive when he was discovered at 5:40pm on the hotel’s south driveway. He was taken to the University Medical Centre of Las Vegas. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, and an investigation is being carried out by the Nevada Clark County Coroner’s Office.

McCarthy was known for having a quirky sense of humour and strong personality. He had been in a long relationship with Dani Smarrelli, an aspiring recording artist. The night before McCarthy went to Las Vegas, she accompanied him to the Port Adelaide best and fairest count.

McCarthy played with Collingwood for four seasons before joining Port Adeleaide at the end of 2011. Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says that their players would wear black armbands to honour McCarthy during the final against the West Coast Eagles on Saturday night. Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell added that McCarthy was a great mate to many of them, a wonderful person and gutsy teammate.

His father, Shane, and brother, Matthew, both played for Geelong. Geelong chief executive Brian Cook gave his deepest sympathy to the player’s family. Matthew was in Ireland at the time of the incident, and Port Adelaide waited to confirm McCarthy’s tragic accident until he was contacted. His sister was in the US and on her way to Las Vegas last night.

The Sorrento Flootball Club, which is located southeast of Melbourne in a town where the McCarthy family grew up and where his father is a solicitor, has been hit hard by the news as well. President Garry Woodhams says he was completely shocked.



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