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Former Lismore man shot to death by thugs in Argentina

Nicholas Heyward pictured during his time as a 'rising talent' at the Lismore Swans.
Nicholas Heyward pictured during his time as a 'rising talent' at the Lismore Swans.

NICHOLAS Heyward's vibrant personality, love of life, travel and adventure left endearing memories with everyone he met.

The popular former Lismore Swans player and Southern Cross University student was shot dead in a daylight bag snatch in the Argentinean city of Mendoza on Monday.

The Lismore Swans took to their Facebook page to express the club's condolences to the Heyward family.

Mr Heyward, 31, was walking though General San Martin Park near the World Cup stadium with an Australian woman and a French man at about 4pm.

He was approached by two men, aged about 20 on a motorbike who tried to steal his backpack, Mendoza police chief Juan Carlos Caleri told media.

When a struggle ensued, Mr Heyward was shot four times in the torso, stomach, sternum and neck and died at the scene.

A fifth shot missed him.

The second eldest of three boys, Mr Heyward, who was born in Australia and grew up in Adelaide but carried a New Zealand passport as his mother was a Kiwi, had been staying at the Itaka Hostel since Saturday.

After completing his physio-therapy degree, which he started at Southern Cross University's Lismore Campus, at the University of Queens

land, Mr Heyward took off overseas in 2013 on a surfing and rock climbing adventure.

Mitch Grivins met Mr Heyward in Lismore in 2004 and they became close friends after meeting at Southern Cross Presbyterian Church.

In 2005, Mitch introduced Nick to the Lismore Swans AFL Club, where he went on to star at centre half-back until 2009.

"We shared interests in surfing, Aussie rules football, Jesus, good beer and fun times," Mr Grivins said.

"Nick was relaxed but confident; a really friendly guy.

"Nick had a lot of integrity and lived by his convictions.

"He was generous with his laughter and always made people feel welcome."

The Lismore Swans posted on Facebook that the club was saddened by the news of Mr Heyward's death.

"Heyward played 31 games for the Swans and was The Rising Star winner in 2006.

"A true gentleman and a Swannie for life."

Just hours after Mr Heyward's death, his brother Stefan posted on Facebook.

"The loss of you will echo through my heart forever," he said.

"From our youth as you as my elder and idol in the backyard, to our travels abroad exploring, surfing and living life, I could not have asked for a better brother.

"Though time may dim the pain, my thoughts will always drift back to remember the truly great person you were."

Police are examining CCTV footage from cameras near the entrances to the park to attempt to identify Mr Heyward's killers.

Mr Heyward's family, who want to bring his body back to South Australia for burial, are awaiting instruction from the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra.

A reward of 40,000 Argentinean pesos ($5385 AUD) has been posted for information on Mr Heyward's killers.

Topics:  argentina, lismore swans, murder, shooting


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