Tributes have poured in for Ulster centre Nevin Spence who was killed alongside his brother and their father in a farming tragedy on Saturday.
Their sister was also injured in the incident in Northern Ireland.
The 22-year-old rose to prominence playing for Ulster Rugby and was a rising star in Ireland's international rugby scene but died after falling into a slurry tank.
Emergency crews went to the family farm in Drumlough Road outside Hillsborough, Co Down, shortly after 6pm on Saturday following reports that four people had fallen into the slurry pit.
Following a lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.
Nevin Spence was a member of the Ulster Rugby squad that reached the European Heineken cup final last season, and he was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.
Rugby players and fans paid tribute to the young player on social media as news emerged of his involvement in the tragedy.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation."
Tributes appeared on Twitter feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect Pro12, the league in which Ulster play.
The Lions post read: "All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother. Reportedly died in accident."
Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery added: "Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad."
Former Wales winger Shane Williams was also among those to pay their respects on the social media site, writing: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nevin Spence. A tragic loss. A class act on the field also. RIP."
The post on the Pro12 account read: "Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words."
Spence's erstwhile Ulster team-mate, fly-half Ian Humphreys, wrote: "Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..."
"Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..." - Ian Humphreys
Tributes also came from notable Northern Irish sportsmen Rory McIlroy and Mark Allen.
McIlroy, golf's world number one, wrote on his Twitter account: "Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth."
Snooker star Allen added: "What a loss for the family and for ulster and Irish rugby!! In shock here!!"
Shane Logan, chief executive of Ulster Rugby, said: "I am deeply saddened by this tragic news. Nevin was a wonderful player but also a wonderful person.
"He was well liked by everyone who knew him and his loss will be deeply felt by his team-mates and everyone at Ulster Rugby.
"He will be sorely missed and the thoughts of everyone involved in the game are with his family at this time."
Billy Glynn, president of the IRFU said: "Nevin was an outstanding young player which was evident from his progression through the representative ranks and the game has been robbed of a very talented young man.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has struck the Spence family and the thoughts of everybody in Irish Rugby are with them at this time.”
Lives have been lost in the past in accidents at other farm slurry tanks, but the scale of the latest tragedy caused widespread shock.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at about 6.15pm following reports that at least three people had fallen into a slurry tank.
It said it immediately sent three rapid response paramedics, four accident and emergency vehicles and an ambulance service doctor to the scene.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also attended and rescued four people from the slurry pit.
A spokesman for the ambulance service said: "Three were unconscious and NIAS paramedics commenced resuscitation efforts immediately assisted by other ambulance personnel.
"One of the four showed initial signs of responding to the efforts of the crews and was transported immediately to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital, where unfortunately he died a short time later.
"Despite the best efforts of all involved the other two men died at the scene.
"A female was treated at the scene and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she is recovering from the effects of fume inhalation."
NEVIN SPENCE FACTFILE
- 1990: Born 26 April in Annahilt, Northern Ireland.
- 2009: 5 June - Scores a try on his Ireland Under-20 debut against Argentina.
- 2010: 13 April - Makes his professional debut for Ulster as a last-minute substitute against the Ospreys in what was then the Magners League.
- 18 December - Scores his first try for the province to secure a Heineken Cup win over Bath.
- 2011: 28 January - Appears for the Irish Wolfhounds against Scotland A, his first of three appearances for the Ireland second-string side.
- 6 May - Scores two tries in a 20-13 win over Newport Gwent Dragons to finish with five for the season.
- 2012: 29 May - Features as a late replacement for the Ireland senior squad against the Barbarians at Kingsholm, having previously trained with the RBS 6 Nations squad.
- 2012: 15 September - Killed along with his father and brother in an accident in a slurry tank on their family farm in Hillsborough, County Down.