Tributes are flowing for Victorian footballer Riki Stephens who took a cocktail of amphetamine-like substances on an end-of-season trip to Queensland.
Heathcote football club president Andrew Conforti on Friday morning paid tribute to the 27-year-old who was hospitalised on the Gold Coast after taking the drug last weekend.
“We were lucky enough to have Riki for 12 months … he got out there and was a star,” Mr Conforti told AAP.
“There’s a lot of people hurting – he was an easy person to love.”
Friends turned to Facebook to honour Stephens.
“Words can’t describe the shock we are all feeling after the loss of this absolute legend. You were a fierce competitor on the field and the one we all couldn’t wait to have a beer with off the field,” Joel Osbrough posted on Friday.
“Always the life of the party and never seen without your cheeky grin.
Never a dull moment. Rest easy chicken. Only the good die young.”
Rest in peace Riki Stephens. You were an absolute legend of a bloke. My thoughts are with your family ❤️
Abbi Weatherald said she couldn’t fathom the pain his family must be going through.
“You could put a smile on anyone’s face. My heart breaks for your family and close friends, a pain that I could never imagine. Rest easy Riki Stephens,” she posted.
Mr Stephens and his Heathcote Saints teammates were on the Gold Coast when he ingested a drug at a pub last weekend.
The well-liked footballer had finished playing his first season with Heathcote, having been recruited from Melbourne, when he went on the ill-fated holiday.
Toxicology tests have ruled out the drug flakka, dubbed the zombie drug for its effects on users.
Police say the drug was actually a cocktail of “amphetamine-type substances”, including MDMA as well as a synthetic version of LSD, also known as an N-Bomb.
Effects in users included hallucinations.
Two men have been charged with supplying a dangerous drug.