Workington Town have paid tribute to Stephen Holgate after announcing the death of their talented former player.

Ex-Wigan and England star Holgate has passed away at just 49, the Derwent Park club said.

In a tribute on social media, Town said: "It’s with great sadness that we learn of the passing of ex-player Stephen Holgate.

"An extraordinarily talented player who we are privileged to say graced Derwent Park.

"Rest in Peace marra."

Whitehaven-born Holgate, from Frizington, played for Hensingham before emerging as a star with Town in the mid-1990s.

A prop or second row, he impressed enough to earn a move to Wigan in 1996 in a £100,000 deal.

His time at Wigan Warriors included a starting role in the inaugural Super League Grand Final which saw Wigan beat Leeds Rhinos in front of 43,000 fans at Old Trafford in 1998.

He made one appearance for England in 1995 and later played for Hull Sharks and Halifax Blue Sox, also helping Widnes win the Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final in 2001 to gain promotion, before returning to play in his native west Cumbria.

The circumstances of Holgate's death have not yet been revealed.

Wigan have also paid tribute to their former player.

In a statement, they said: "Wigan Warriors are deeply saddened to hear of the news that Stephen Holgate has died, aged 49.

"Holgate played 22 games for Wigan in 1998, including the Super League Grand Final.

"We send our deepest condolences to Stephen’s family and friends at this awful time."

Whitehaven also added their tribute to the west Cumbrian star.

Haven said on Twitter: "It is with great sadness that the club have learned of the passing of local lad Stephen Holgate who represented his county, Wigan and our neighbours Workington Town, as well several other clubs. Our condolences go to his family and all connected with Stephen. RIP."

Hull FC added that they were "deeply saddened" by the news.