Sally Nugent with emotional expression wearing a white blouse on BBC Breakfast beside rugby star Rob Burrow in wheelchair

BBC Breakfast in hosting shake-up as Sally Nugent fights back tears over Rob Burrow’s death

Sally has been left emotional

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BBC Breakfast saw a different line-up this morning, with the absence of Sally Nugent.

Instead, her colleagues Jon Kay and Sarah Campbell stepped in. Jon explained that Sally was always due to present the News at One from Salford, but would pop in later in the show to pay tribute to the late Rob Burrow.

Rugby star Rob Burrow died at the weekend after battling Motor Neurone Disease.

Sally, who had become close friends with the sports star and his family, joined the hosts around 8am on Monday to remember Rob.

This is where the BBC Breakfast favourite fought back tears whilst discussing the tragic loss of Rob.

Jon Kay and sarah Campbell presenting BBC Breakfast
Jon Kay and Sarah Campbell hosted BBC Breakfast on Monday (Credit: BBC / BBC iplayer)

BBC Breakfast star Sally Nugent pays tribute to Rob Burrow

Sally, who had grown close to Rob and his family whilst filming a documentary about his health battle for the BBC, shared a sweet tribute on social media prior to gracing our screens. She penned: “Shoot for the moon. Land in the stars @rob7lindsey.”

She also wrote to X (formerly known as Twitter): “Smallest player on the pitch. But a giant of a man. There’s only one Rob Burrow.”

Later in today’s instalment of BBC Breakfast (June 3), Sally gushed over Rob’s devotion to his family. She also gushed over Rob’s prowess on the rugby pitch.

Rob Burrow wearing a tuxedo whilst sat in a wheelchair
Rob Burrow died on June 2, 2024 (Credit:

Evidently emotional, Sally could be seen fighting back tears as she detailed Rob’s remarkable legacy and explained what she would miss about the sports star. She said: “How funny he is. How much he is with everyone. No matter who you are. These images here – spending time with the kids in the garden, going on a caravan holiday with them up in North Yorkshire, where actually, do you know what they did? In this desperate circumstance, they just cracked on and got on with life.

I think if we could all be a bit more Burrow, life would be much nice.

“Kevin Sinfield said something really important, he said: ‘Rob shows us how to live and Lindsey shows us how to love.’ And that’s the thing I will remember from both of them. Rob refused to give in, in the face of this horrific diagnosis, he refused to give in and he fought for every single breath – and he did that for his family and his children.

Sally Nugent fights back tears on BBC Breakfast

“I guess this morning I reflect on how Lindsey, Macy, Maya and Jackson are, his gorgeous kids, his lovely mum and dad, Geoff and Irene, who welcomed us into their home like we were family and looked after us actually. Ironically, we were going to film with them but we were very well looked after and protected by them, like we were part of the family straight away. I think if we could all be a bit more Burrow, life would be much nicer.”

Sally concluded: “[He had] a refusal to give in and he really wanted to see the day that this new centre for MND was built and here we are today, it’s happening.”

Sally Nugent with emotional expression wearing a white blouse on BBC Breakfast
Sally Nugent looked emotional today (Credit: BBC / BBC iplayer)

Rob Burrow death

The Leeds Rhinos player died on June 2 2024, at the age of 41. Prince William has helmed the flood of touching tributes for Rob. He stated to social media: “A legend of Rugby League, Rob Burrow had a huge heart. He taught us, in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.”

Prince William continued: “Catherine and I send our love to Lindsey, Jackson, Maya, and Macy.”

Prince William posted a tribute to Rob Burrow on his Instagram stories.
Prince William posted a tribute to Rob Burrow on his Instagram Stories (Credit: @princeandprincessofwales via Instagram)

Rob Burrow was diagnosed with MND in 2019. In an inspiring show of resilience and strength, Rob became an influential advocate for those suffering from MND and similar battles.

In wake of his death, construction has begun on the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds. Despite being just 24 hours since their loss, the sportsman’s family has reportedly insisted that the charity presses on with their work.

Paul Watkins, director of fundraising at Leeds Hospitals Charity, said: “The family still want it to go ahead. That just shows how magnanimous and gracious they are. All along they have thought about others.”

Read more: Prince William leads tributes to Rob Burrow after rugby star’s death at 41 following MND battle

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