Kato Ottio, a 23-year-old PNG worldwide that seemingly had a very bright Rugby League career ahead of him, was reported to have died from a "sudden health issue" on January 8.
Coach Ricky Stuart was deeply saddened to hear of Kato's passing this morning.
The centre was part of the PNG side that lost to England in November's World Cup quarter-finals.
"All of us saw at the World Cup the incredible gifts that Kato had, and his potential to forge a great career in rugby league".
The Papua New Guinea global had only signed for Widnes in December from Canberra, where he was a regular in their feeder team.
Betts said: "It's a game to blow the cobwebs off some players who perhaps haven't played very much in the past four months".
"He was always cheeky to me because we became so close through Mounties and he'd have a giggle at me but it was always respectful and he always had a smile on his face".
Although he played little NRL, Ottio was popular with his Raiders team-mates. "I spoke to him on Saturday and he was excited about coming to play for us".
"He was a soft-natured and gentle kid with a cheeky side but a loving cheekiness, the type of player a whole group takes to and everyone is just massively in shock".
Club officials had been furnishing the house Ottio and Albert were going to share when they learned the news.
"The run was over and a few of the boys walked back while others got a ride", Ottio's manager Steve Deacon told Wide World of Sports.
Austin was one of several Raiders to come out in mourning and pay tribute to Ottio on social media. Wasn't a day he wasn't smiling, gone way too soon. At 23 years of age, Ottio had his whole life ahead of him; it is therefore even more harrowing that these words must be used, but, Rest in Peace Kato Ottio.
"We had been in regular contact with Kato and were excited to welcome a bright, excited and passionate young man, who had genuine potential for the future".