A SECOND Durham rugby player has died in Sri Lanka.

Thomas Baty, 26, has been in hospital since Sunday and has now died.

Thomas Howard, 25, from Durham city, died on Sunday.

The Northern Echo:

Both men were admitted to hospital on Sunday after they started suffering from breathing problems following a night out.

They were playing as part of Clems Pirates, which is affiliated with Durham City Rugby Club, and is well known for raising money for good causes.

Durham City club president Richard Wilkinson said: "On behalf of all members and friends of the DCRFC family we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Thomas Howard.

"We also extend our best wishes to Paul, Alyson and Charlotte who are in Sri Lanka supporting Tom Baty as he takes on the challenge of his recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

"Both players and Clems Pirates hold a special place in our rugby family, and our continued support is unconditional.

"We will also continue to support the Clems Sri Lankan Tour party by being in regular contact with senior club officials out in Sri Lanka.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the many messages of sympathy and support that have been received from our members, friends and the wider rugby family; they are very much appreciated at this difficult time."

People have been paying tribute to Mr Howard on the club's Facebook page.

England rugby player Tamara Taylor was among those offering their sympathies on social media.

She tweeted: "Unbelievably tragic news. Sending love to all at Clems Pirates and @DurhamCityRFC #RugbyFamily."

Aaron Tillyer wrote: "Such sad news from my old rugby club @DurhamCityRFC.

"Thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. RIP."

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said it was assisting the families of the two British men.

The two players are said to have complained of breathing difficulties at around 10am on Sunday.

The team was staying in a hotel in Colombo after playing their opening match against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club on Saturday.

A spokesperson from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said earlier: "Our staff are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Sri Lanka, and are in contact with the Sri Lankan hospital services.

“We are assisting the family of a British man who has been hospitalised in Sri Lanka, and are in contact with the Sri Lankan medical services.”