MYSTERY surrounds the death of a 28-year-old Hampshire sportsman who was found dead in bed by his parents.

Fred Dibben, a highly-respected member of Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club, is thought to have died from a previously undetected heart condition.

He went to bed at 7am after finishing a nightshift at work and was found dead a few hours later.

A post-mortem examination has been conducted and tests carried out, but the exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

His mother Lorraine, 70, said: “They think it was something to do with his heart although we don’t know how it happened.”

The rugby club paid tribute the popular player by holding a two-minute silence before their game against the Isle of Wight last Saturday.

Fred’s father Clifford, one of several family members who watched the match, shook each player’s hand as they left the pitch after the fixture.

Clifford and Lorraine have been inundated with messages of sympathy and support since their son’s death.

Lorraine said: “Fred lived in Ringwood all his life and seems to have had an awful lot of friends - we weren’t aware of how just many people loved him.

“Six or eight of his mates came round the other evening and shared some memories, but they were just a tiny number of his friends.”

Fred, also known as Freddie, went to Ringwood School and Brockenhurst College before joining the Wilton Carpet Factory at Wilton, near Salisbury, in 2011.

Rob Load, the company’s manufacturing director, said: “Freddie was a very pleasant, easy going young man who always had a smile on his face.

“His colleagues’ reaction to his death was one of complete and utter shock. He was very well liked and everyone was extremely upset.

“What makes it so much worse is that he was a young man who appeared to be very fit and healthy.”

Fred, who died on March 4, lived with his parents in Poulner, Ringwood, but was saving up to buy a place of his own.

He had been a member of Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club for about eight years.

Referring to last Saturday’s match club spokesman Steve Benson said: “It was very sad and very emotional, especially with Freddie’s father being part of the silence.”

As well as his parents he leaves five sisters, plus several nephews and nieces.

The funeral will be held at Ringwood Parish Church on March 30. Several members of the rugby club are expected to attend the service.