AFL footballer Gary Rohan has paid a touching tribute to his late daughter who died hours after she was born on Thursday.
The Cobden export and his wife Amie, who also hails from the south-west, welcomed Willow into the world at 9am before a pre-diagnosed medical condition claimed her life five hours later.
Willow’s twin sister Bella is receiving special care in Sydney’s Royal Women’s Hospital “but in all is doing very well”.
The Rohans revealed in November that one of their twins had anencephaly – a condition where part of the brain, skull and scalp never develops.
Babies born with the condition are not compatible with life.
Rohan, who will miss Sydney’s clash with the Western Bulldogs on Saturday, wrote a heartfelt note on social media on Friday both welcoming and farewelling Willow.
“The most perfect little souls we have ever laid eyes on, we feel so truly blessed to be your parents,” he said.
“Amie, Bella and I soaked up every second we had with Willow, making as many lasting memories as we could all together.
“It’s those little moments we know we will never get back, and we will forever cherish the time we spent as our little family of four, before our darling Willow grew her little angel wings.”
Rohan thanked the Royal Women’s Hospital staff for their support during an emotionally-draining period.
“Yesterday was one of the hardest days Amie and I have ever had to deal with,” he said.
“It was a day of many mixed emotions and you, our team, made everything so perfect.
“Words truly can’t express how grateful we are.”