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Cancer claims Hanley brother at just 16

AFL 2017 Round 01 - Gold Coast v Brisbane
Pearce Hanley played his first match for the Suns against the Lions in round one

TOMMY Hanley, the younger brother of Pearce and Cian, has passed away.

The 16-year-old died in a Dublin hospital on Tuesday night Australian time after suffering with cancer.

Pearce (Gold Coast) and Cian (Brisbane Lions) travelled back to Ireland to be with Tommy and made it home in time to see their brother before his death.

The Suns and Lions have both released statements to express their condolences to the Hanley family.

Irish media have reported that the funeral will be held on Friday.

Tommy's illness made headlines around the world when entertainment star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson posted a personal Instagram message to the youngster in December.

Neither the Suns nor the Lions have confirmed when the brothers will return to football.

"He'll take as long as he needs to grieve and be with his family," Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade told

Both clubs will wear black armbands as a mark of respect this weekend.

Pearce played his first match in Suns colours on Saturday, against his former club the Lions, while Cian played his first ever match of Australian football in the NEAFL after two injury-ravaged years at the club.