TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a talented footballer who has lost his fight for life just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Popular striker Marc Burrows, 30, earned the nickname Buzz after scoring in two seconds for Cowes Sports Reserves five years ago; one of the fastest goals in football history.

Last December he netted two goals for Christchurch in their 3-0 FA Vase third round win over New Milton before becoming seriously ill just a few days later.

Marc was unable to hold back his tears when he watched his Christchurch team-mates book their place in the last 16 of the FA Vase last month, pledging: “I’ll be the first on the coach for the next round.”

Despite undergoing treatment he vowed to get back on the pitch, telling the Daily Echo: “I can’t wait to pull on a shirt again. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years.”

Christchurch’s director of football Mick Ryan yesterday said: “Marc was one of the nicest lads you could ever wish to meet. He was so honest, reliable and friendly, a genuine person, great player and prolific goal scorer.

“It was a great shock to us when Marc said he felt unwell on the Tuesday before Christmas. He was diagnosed with this horrible illness on Christmas Eve.

“Marc wanted to confront it face on and refused to even use the C word. He was always very positive and so determined to beat the illness.

“The suddenness of his death has come as a terrible, devastating shock. So many tears have been shed for Marc who was loved by so many.

“Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are now with his lovely fiancée Claire, his family and many friends.”

Earlier boss Graham Kemp described Burrows, who came from the Isle of Wight and also played for Eastleigh, as “a genuine guy and a great lad; one of the gentlemen of the Wessex League.”