‘Heartbreaking’: Rugby League Immortal Norm Provan dead at 88 Norm Provan and Arthur Summons with the Grand Final Trophy. Picture: Getty Images

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The NRL community is in mourning after the death of Norm Provan — the man immortalised in rugby league’s most iconic photo.

Rugby league Immortal Norm Provan has died at the age of 88.

The rugby league community is in mourning after the St George Dragons legend passed away on Monday night, his club confirmed on Thursday morning.

He represented the Dragons in 256 games between 1951 to 1965, and is widely regarded as one of the finest footballers of the 20th century.

It is his performance away from the football field that has enhanced his legacy as a goliath of the game, remembered as one of the classiest gentlemen Australian sport has ever known.

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Wayne Bennett summed up Provan’s position in the game when speaking earlier this year.

“I don’t know anybody in the game who did more than Norm Provan,” he said.

“He was part of 10 premierships. We all fight hard to win one and he won 10.

“Our NRL premiership (the Provan-Summons trophy) is named after him.

“He played for Australia and went on to coach and he is an outstanding man. He was a superstar of his era. He epitomises what the game is about.”

Provan earned the nickname “Sticks” in reference to his lanky 1.93m frame, Provan presided over the most dominant club team in rugby league history.

The second-rower featured in 10 grand finals during St George’s unprecedented 11-year reign as NSWRL premiers between 1956 and 1966.

His appearance in 10 grand finals is an Australian rugby league record.

He also played 19 games for New South Wales and 14 Tests for Australia.

Proven was named in the Australian Rugby League Team of the Century in 2008. He was also inducted in the Sport Australia Hall off Fame in 2015, and three years later joined rugby league’s most exclusive club as an Immortal.

He is also famous for appearing on the Provan-Summons Trophy, which is awarded to the NRL premiers each season. The iconic photograph of Provan alongside Arthur Summons was captured in the SCG mud after the 1963 grand final, and has become synonymous with the sport.

Provan had been battling dementia in recent years.

‘Deeply saddened’ Dragons release statement

The Dragons have paid tribute to their favourite son.

“Norm Provan remains an iconic and crucial part of the St George’s rich history,” St George Dragons chairman Craig Young said.

“Norm was instrumental in St George’s great run of 11 premierships, a feat we will never see occur again.

“Everyone involved with St George District and the St George Illawarra Dragons wish to send their condolences to Norm’s family.

Tributes flood in for Provan

Norm Provan is being celebrated across the rugby league world for the legacy he leaves behind.

Rugby league veteran Ashton Sims was among the first to pay respect to Provan.

“The warrior. The immortal. The legend,” he posted on Twitter.

“Vale Norm Provan. I met Norm in 2003 on the Sunshine Coast & you wouldn’t meet a truer gentleman.

“I’ll never forget shaking your hand & to this day, it’s the biggest hand I’ve ever shaken.”

Outspoken sports commentator Peter FitzSimons remembered Provan simply as “a lovely man”.

It’s a loss shared by many.

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