The racing community is in mourning following the death of jockey Nathan Berry, aged 23.
He died on Thursday in Sydney after collapsing at trackwork in Singapore on March 18.
He suffered a series of seizures before he was placed in an induced coma last week. Doctors diagnosed Berry with Norse syndrome, an acute form of epilepsy.
Jockey Nathan Berry celebrates his win on Unencumbered in the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast in January. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Berry returned to Sydney from Singapore, where he was in the early stages of a four-month riding contract, aboard a special flight on Thursday morning and was immediately admitted to hospital.
He married his wife Whitney, daughter of fellow jockey Glyn Schofield, on February 2, a few weeks after the biggest win of his career on Unencumbered in the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast.
"The man we love so much and will miss even more. Losing you cuts so deep buddy. R.I.P.," Schofield tweeted.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys issued a statement on behalf of the racing industry.
“The entire racing industry is extremely distraught with the news of Nathan’s passing,” V'landys said.
“Sadness is not a sufficient word to describe this tragedy. We are all very distressed and could not imagine the grief the family must be going through.
“This was a young man that had the world at his feet. He won the Magic Millions in January and rose to the top of the ranks so quickly that he was offered a contract to ride in Singapore.
“You would not meet a family more grounded and genuine than the Berry family. They are the most diligent and hard-working people I know. Our sincere condolences go out to the Berry and Schofield families and Nathan’s wife Whitney.’’
Racing NSW has made available counselling services for all members of the industry over the next week.
Berry rode 351 winners in his career, the biggest being Unencumbered in the Magic Millions in January., and before he became ill was due to partner the colt in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill on Saturday.
He also tasted group 3 success last year with Malavio in the Tramway Stakes, Va Pensiero in the Run To The Rose and Unencumbered in the McLachlan Stakes.
Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss took to Twitter soon after the news broke.
"I feel very numb with the passing of Nathan. RIP. Tommy your family and the Schofield's. I'm so sorry for your loss," the 44-year-old wrote.
Darley's jockey Kerrin McEvoy added: "Gone too young, a ripping guy #NathanBerry RIP we will all miss you mate.''
Trainers joined in the tributes. Bart and James Cummings tweeted: "We are saddened by the news of Nathan Berry's passing. Our thoughts are with the Berry and Schofield families."
While Hawkes Racing posted from its Twitter account: "Sadness fills our hearts with the passing of Nathan. A talented and wonderful young man in his prime. Our thoughts are with all his family. RIP.''
Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce said Berry would be recognised during Saturday's Golden Slipper meeting. The club would decide how it will be done in association with the Berry and Schofield families and the Australian Jockeys' Association.
Pearce also added a personal tribute. "Like all of the racing industry we are overwhelmed by sadness about Nathan’s illness and his now untimely passing,” he said.
“We are so grateful for the short but wonderful career that Nathan had, which we and all of the racing public were privileged to see at our tracks.
"At this time, our thoughts are with his entire family and the many in the industry so close to Nathan who will struggle to deal with today’s distressing news.”
Australian Racing Board chairman John Messara also offered a tribute.
"A great sense of loss has overtaken Australian racing with the passing of Nathan Berry," Messara's statement read.
"It is an unspeakable sadness for his wife Whitney, twin brother Tommy, loving parents and family. We know there are no words which can erase their pain, other than hope that they can draw comfort from knowing that so many others share in their grief.
"Nathan Berry was a respected and talented rider who had earned his success through dedication and hard work; he was an outstanding talent."