Former AFL player Harley Balic has been found dead just days after turning 25. The midfielder played four senior games for the Fremantle Dockers before joining the Melbourne Demons in 2018 and announcing his retirement that same season.
Victoria Police said emergency services were called to a hotel on Nepean Highway around midday on Sunday, where Balic was found. His death is not being treated as suspicious, and a report is being prepared for the coroner.
Balic had been candid about mental health problems he had experienced in the past, and said that he lost his passion for the game after announcing his retirement. At the time, he said, “It was an easy decision in the end, as I’ve thought about it for a little while now.
“It’s something I’m not going to regret and I’m very appreciative to Melbourne for letting me come to the club for a second chance. I’ve always loved football, but my heart’s not in it and everything ends up being a grind and I think it’s just the right thing to do.
“The [club’s] VFL and AFL [teams] are both going to be successful this year and it’s something I’d love to be a part of, if I loved it, but unfortunately I don’t and it’s time to go out into the real world and see what else is out there for me.”
Balic is the third former Docker to pass away in the past four years, following the deaths of Colin Sylvia and Shane Yarran in 2018. Former footballer Harley Bennell posted a photo on Instagram with Balic and Yarran accompanied by the caption, “Rest easy my 2 brothers”. Bennell and Balic both joined Fremantle before the 2017 season.
Bennell also posted a photo with Balic to his Instagram stories with the caption, “RIP my little HB. I’ll always love you little brother”.
Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
This article first appeared on OverSixty.