Stephen Laybutt
Laybutt training with the Newcastle Jets
Personal information
Full name Stephen John Laybutt
Date of birth (1977-09-03)3 September 1977
Place of birth Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
Date of death 13 January 2024(2024-01-13) (aged 46)
Place of death Cabarita Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
1994–1995 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1997 Wollongong Wolves 29 (2)
1997–1999 Brisbane Strikers 68 (6)
1999 Bellmare Hiratsuka 10 (0)
1999–2000 Parramatta Power 7 (1)
2000–2002 Feyenoord 0 (0)
2000–2001RBC Roosendaal (loan) 3 (0)
2001Lyn Oslo (loan) 6 (0)
2002 Sydney Olympic 12 (1)
2002–2003 Brisbane Strikers 22 (1)
2003–2004 Excelsior Mouscron 30 (1)
2004–2007 Gent 70 (1)
2007–2008 Newcastle Jets 10 (0)
2009–2010 Dandaloo FC
International career
1998–2000 Australia U23 14 (1)
2000–2004 Australia 15 (1)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Stephen John Laybutt (3 September 1977 – 13 January 2024) was an Australian professional soccer player who played as a defender.[1] Laybutt came out as gay in 2021[2] and died by suicide in January 2024.[3]

Early life and career

Laybutt was born in Lithgow and played youth football at the Australian Institute of Sport before starting his senior career with Wollongong City in 1995.[4] As well as playing for a number of clubs in the National Soccer League and Newcastle Jets in the A-League, Laybutt played professionally in Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium. He retired from professional football in 2008.[4]

He won fifteen caps with the Australian national team. He was also a member of the Australian under-23 team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.[4]

Laybutt was released by Dutch side Feyenoord in January 2002 to return to Australia, following a loan spell at Lyn Oslo, due to a lack of first team opportunities.[5]

In January 2008, Laybutt suffered an achilles tendon rupture, ruling him out for the remainder of the 2008–09 A-League.[6]

Personal life and death

Following his playing career, Laybutt came out as gay. As of 2021, Laybutt worked in the rehab unit at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. There, he met patient Ian Pavey, to whom he donated a kidney.[2]

Laybutt was reported missing on 13 January 2024 when he could not be contacted after having last been seen the previous night.[7] Laybutt was recorded on security camera footage at 11:30 AM on the 13th.[8] Police discovered Laybutt's body on 14 January 2024 in bushland near Cabarita Beach, New South Wales at age 46,[7] determined to be self-inflicted.[3]


Sydney Olympic

Newcastle Jets



  1. ^ Valentine, Renee (7 September 2007). "Dutchy urges understudies to seize the moment". The Newcastle Herald. p. 68.
  2. ^ a b Webster, Andrew (10 December 2021). "'I want to give you a kidney': The gay Socceroo whose text message saved a life". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b Socceroos star Stephen Laybutt’s cause of death explained after going missing in northern New South Wales
  4. ^ a b c Belga (15 January 2024). "L'Australien Stephen Laybutt, ancien joueur de Mouscron et La Gantoise, retrouvé mort à 46 ans". RTBF (in French). Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  5. ^ "Feyenoord en Stephen Laybutt uit elkaar" [Feyenoord and Stephen Laybutt separate]. Feyenoord (in Dutch). 8 January 2002. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  6. ^ Gardiner, James (15 January 2008). "Laybutt tear exposes Achilles heel at back". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  7. ^ a b Green, Eli (15 January 2024). "Body of missing ex-Socceroo found in NSW bush after frantic search". Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  8. ^ Missing Socceroo spotted on CCTV on day he disappeared