The heartbreaking text message Fitzy sent AFL player Taylor Walker.

AFL: It’s the true-blue Aussie sporting community synonymous with mateship and teamwork; ideals which are often mirrored off-field between players in their day-to-day lives.

But while former AFL player and media personality Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald has previously kept his private life, well, exactly that, he’s increasingly opened up about the anguish of losing an unborn baby; an issue which men have rarely spoken about in the past. And, in turn, an issue which Fitzy is passionate about sharing his experiences with in the hopes it will bring awareness.

Speaking on FIVEaa Radio this week, the beloved Adelaide Nova radio host shared the emotional message of support he sent Adelaide Crows captain Taylor Walker after discovering his first child was stillborn – devastation he himself knows all too well.

Taylor “Tex” Walker, 28, and his 26-year-old partner Ellie Brown were expecting a baby in March, but last month, the tragic news was announced in a statement from the football club.

“Adelaide has granted Taylor Walker personal leave following the loss of he and his partner Ellie’s unborn baby,” the statement read.

“The thoughts of the entire Crows family are with Taylor and Ellie, as well as their extended family, at this difficult time.”


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When 4 becomes 5 ???????????????????? Baby Walker due March 2019 Super excited @elsbrown

A post shared by Taylor Walker (@texwalka13) on

Fitzy, 41, who played one season for the same AFL club, offered his support to the young captain while touching on his own tragedy; he and his wife Belinda had miscarried a decade ago.

“Devastated mate. You can never prepare yourself for something like that,” Fitzy wrote to Taylor “Tex” Walker.


“BJ and I lost Cayley-Jay, our little girl 10 years ago. A tragedy but also the most defining part of our relationship, Tex.

“It brought us closer and it made the birth of Huey so much more special, that will happen to you and Ellie – I promise you,” he added of his son Hewston, eight. He also has a four-year-old son, Lenny.

“Always here if you need, mate. Sending all our love to you both, the Fitzgeralds,” he ended the message.


Speaking on air, Fitzy said Tex responded: "Thanks guys I bloody appreciate it."

Earlier this year, while appearing on the Balls Deep podcast, Fitzy opened up about the grief that swallowed the first year of his marriage to Belinda Irons in 2008.

“We lost a child, which was pretty full-on,” he said. “I came from a family that’s like, you know what, you get dealt a bad blow and you move on. But she came from a family that was quite emotional," he shared.

He and Belinda discovered their first child had died at 20 weeks, but as it was past the point where termination was possible, their daughter was delivered stillborn.

“She delivered the baby and she decided to [hold Cayley-Jay], and it was the best thing that we ever did,” he said during the podcast. “Because we had closure. We got to say hello and then we got to say goodbye to Cayley-Jay. It was a beautiful moment, it really was.”

In August, Tex's teammate and close friend Rory Sloane and his TV presenter wife Belinda Riverso lost their first child, too.

"Last week we said goodbye to our beautiful little man. Leo Rory Sloane was born into the world still, but perfect," the celebrated Crows player heartbreakingly wrote on Instagram.

After the announcement, Fitzy took to Twitter to again offer support.

"Rory and Bel are outstanding humans with an even better support base, this is vital in the healing process," he wrote.

"Footy seems so insignificant in a moment like this, it puts everything back into perspective."

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