A heartbroken family have paid tribute to a 'kind' and 'gentle soul' who died after being hit by a car in Widnes.

Former Widnes Vikings player Liam Walsh, 23, died when he was hit by a red Vauxhall Corsa on Cronton Road near College Fields on Saturday, September 18.

After the crash Liam was rushed to Whiston Hospital but died a short time later.

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His family are being supported by specialist officers.

In a tribute today, his family said Liam "leaves a gaping hole that will never be filled" and "he lit up any room he walked into".

The heartbreaking tribute said: "Liam lived with his partner of eight years but stayed local remaining close by to his close knit family.

“He was so loved and will be truly missed by all his family and friends. He was considerate, caring and touched the hearts and enriched the lives of everyone that knew him.

"We are sure that everyone will remember him with the fondest of memories.

"Liam lived life on his terms, he made friends easily and was true and supportive to each and every one of them.

“Liam worked as a groundworker, working with friends enjoying his job.

"He previously played rugby professionally for Widnes Vikings for two years after he had joined the clubs’ academy.

"Any spare time Liam had was spent with his family and friends as this is what was important to Liam.

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“Liam was a kind, gentle soul with the biggest heart, he lit up any room he walked into and he was a true gentleman. It is a pleasure and an honour to call him our son and we will now and forever be proud of him.

“His passing leaves a gaping hole in our family that will never be filled and words cannot describe how much he will truly be missed.

"We, as a family, are devastated that we have lost our whole world."

The Rugby League club released a statement on their website following the news.

They said: "Liam was a product of the club’s academy, working his way through every stage of the system and gaining international honours before realising his dream of representing his hometown club.

"His first team debut came at Super League level against Leeds Rhinos back in 2017, before going on to make a further five appearances for the club before departing in 2019.

"Liam left a lasting mark on all those who met him, and was a close friend to many of the current first team players and staff – remaining a friend of those who progressed through the Academy alongside him too.

"In honour of Liam, our players will be observing a minutes silence prior to today’s final fixture of the 2021 season away to Swinton Lions, and will also be wearing black armbands.

"The thoughts of everyone at Widnes Vikings are with Liam’s family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time."

Widnes Vikings CEO Phil Finney also commented: "I am devastated to hear the news of Liam’s passing this morning. Liam was a very special person and a very important part of our club for a number of years.

“He made a lasting impression on everyone he met with his sense of humour and contagious personality, he was a one off and will be remembered with great fondness by all at the club who had the pleasure of knowing him.

“We are all thinking about his family and friends at this really sad time.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Cheshire police on 101, or visit www.cheshire.police.uk/tua, quoting IML 1088396.