Cathy's family tragedy,22049,24359648-5001021,00.html

Cathy Freeman devastated by brother’s death
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By Mike Hurst

September 17, 2008 11:02am

CATHY Freeman and her family are in shock trying to come to terms with the sudden death of one of the Olympic athletics champion’s two younger brothers.

Norman Freeman, 34, was a passenger in the front seat of a car which swerved off the road and smashed into the back of a parked truck in Mackay, north Queensland at dusk last night.

"This has absolutely devastated the whole family,’’ Cathy’s manager Carolyn Schuwalow told The Daily Telegraph.

"Norman used to come down to Melbourne when Cathy was still competing and he did quite a bit of training. He was very talented, quite a sporty person.

"You know when they show all the famous footage of her winning the Sydney Olympic 400m final and they flash over to her mum, and you see the guy with the big orange shirt balling his eyes out, that was Norman.

"Cathy is very upset, very upset. She is so close to her family, so close to Norman. Cathy is just devastated.’’

Schuwalow said Cathy was with her mother Cecelia at her home in Brisbane.

"Cathy was on her way to far north Queensland to visit one of the schools involved with the Cathy Freeman Foundation,’’ Schuwalow explained.

"She was at Brisbane airport when she heard. The guy she was with packed in her in a car and took her straight to her mum’s house. That’s where she is now.

"At this point, Cathy is trying to deal with the shock. Obviously there’s a concern for Cathy and the family to get up to Mackay and sort out the funeral arrangements and mourn, deal with the tragedy really because Norman’s got a partner and kids of his own.’’

Norman died at the scene of the accident. Gallery

Police said a man died when a vehicle swerved off Slade Point Road, near a school and continued into a parking area where it hit a parked truck about 5.20pm (AEST).

The female driver was taken to Mackay hospital but her injuries were not life-threatening, while two back-seat passengers were not hurt, they said.

In a statement issued at Cathy’s request, Schuwalow said: "Catherine wishes to thank all Australians who have offered support and sent in their condolences. She has asked that her family’s privacy be respected at this time.’’