Sam Burgess has announced his immediate retirement in a heartfelt letter to fans.
The dual-code star, 30, has been forced to call time because of an infection in his shoulder following surgery.
He said: “I have loved absolutely every minute; the highs, the lows; the grand final; coming home; my injuries; my dates with the judiciary. It really has been a fantastic ride.
“This decision was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, however the decision was out of my hands essentially.
“I am no longer able to be myself day in, day out on the training field and consequently the playing field.
“I will not be playing in the NRL next season. My time has come to an end. I’m excited for my next chapter in life whatever that may be.”
Burgess pulled out of Great Britain’s current tour Down Under after it became obvious the shoulder problems were critical.
Specialists this week confirmed that he’d have to quit with immediate effect, ending one of the most glorious careers in rugby league.
He famously won the 2014 NRL Grand Final with brothers Tom and George, despite breaking his cheekbone in the opening tackle.
It was the highlight of the former Bradford Bulls’ forward’s fabulous career with the club owned by Hollywood star Russell Crowe.
He added: “I’d like to encourage everyone to smile as they read this. Let’s all remember what we have done together as a club over the past decade rather than what’s not to be in the coming years.
“We have some amazing young men at the club and it’s in safe hands. I will stay close and help grow the club continually in any way I can.
“To my teammates and coaches along the way, I’d like to thank you all for being supportive and great men. I’ve learnt so much in my 10 years here.
“I value each friendship created and they’ll last a lifetime. To Russell – for making all this happen initially – I’ll be forever indebted to you. Your passion is infectious.
“My family have been by my side the whole way, on and off the field. I love you all so much.”
Great Britain boss Wayne Bennett, his Rabbitohs coach, led the tributes to Burgess saying: “He was one of the drawcards for me in coming to coach at South Sydney.
“His leadership and capabilities on the field match the man he is off it. I’m glad to have played a small role in his career and I feel blessed that he has been part of mine. I know he has made the right decision.”