Australia prepares to honor Jim Stynes with state funeral in Melbourne

Irish sporting legend Jim Stynes is to be honored with the biggest funeral Melbourne has seen in years on Tuesday.

The former gaelic footballer and Aussie Rules star will be buried after a state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Stynes, who lost his brave battle with cancer last week, is one of the few foreigners to be awarded a state funeral by the Victoria government.

Australian politicians will be joined by a who’s-who from the world of sport and entertainment to say goodbye to the 45-year-old Dublin footballer and Melbourne Demons star.

Thousands are expected to watch the ceremony on giant TV screens outside the Cathedral.

President Christy Cooney and All-Ireland winner Paul Clarke, a close friend of Stynes, will represent the GAA at the funeral.

Cooney is expected to confirm details of a new commemorative series of games to remember Stynes while Aussie Rules officials and the Victoria government are also set to honor him.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has already announced that a $3million scholarship fund will be set up in memory of Stynes.

The Australian government will make 37 scholarships – in honor of the number 37 Stynes wore – available to disadvantaged youth every year.

There have also been calls to rename the Brownlow Medal - the award for best and fairest AFL player of the year – after Stynes, a former winner.

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