AFL: Swans announce the tragic death of visually impaired AFL fan Mark Darra Smith

The Sydney Swans have announced the tragic death of young superfan Mark Darra Smith, who sadly passed away at the age of 18.

Mark and friend Jarryd Haines made headlines around the world in 2017 after Jarryd was overheard in the SCG’s Noble Stand calling a play-by-play game for his visually impaired friend Mark after their radio stopped during the game worked.

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“Thinking of Mark Smith’s family and friends … as they said goodbye to him in Sydney today,” the AFL club said on Twitter.

“Mark will forever be part of the red and white family.”

Mark was just 13 years old when the event happened and had been blind for four years due to cancer in his brain and spine.

Mark Darra Smith dating 2017 with Luke Parker and the Sydney team. Recognition: Getty Images

Despite his illness, the youngster still enjoyed football and was a huge Swans fan.

Another fan overheard Jarryd calling the game for Mark and the Swans launched an appeal on social media to find the boys.

The Swans managed to locate the boys, who were then invited to attend a Swans training session where they met with players and toured the club.

The boys were given the honor of running through the flag with the Swans team in the eliminator final against Essendon at the SCG in 2017.

The heartwarming story went viral on social media and made its way across the world, resulting in the boys being nominated for ‘Best Sporting Moment’ at the Laureus World Sports Awards (among previous Laureus Awards winners Usain Bolt, Serena Williams and Roger Federer).

Faced with some incredible and emotional stories of success and strength, Jarryd and Mark finished second after a month-long online vote, just 8 percent behind Chapecoense, the Brazilian soccer team blown to bits by a devastating plane crash that prompted its revival and comeback many inspired.

Mark Darra Smith and his friend Jarryd Haines made global headlines in 2017. Recognition:

The Swans paid tribute to Jarryd in their statement announcing the tragic death of Mark.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Mark’s passing and our thoughts are with his mother Heather, his sister Penelope, his family and friends – especially Jarryd,” the club said.

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James Brien

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