The young scrum-half made his first appearance for Batley in Saturday’s 46-0 Betfred Championship defeat against Toulouse, where the team stayed overnight.
A statement issued by the club on Sunday morning announced the tragic news, with Bruce found in his hotel room.
Club chairman Kevin Nicholas said: "Batley Bulldogs are greatly saddened to announce the passing of their player Archie Bruce (20) who was found in his hotel bedroom early this morning having made his debut against Toulouse the previous evening.
"Archie's immediate family have been informed.
"Batley Bulldogs, the RFL and the RFL Benevolent Fund will be supporting the family while enquiries by the French authorities continue, with the club squad delaying their return to the UK.
"The Bruce family have requested privacy during this most difficult of times."
Bruce had been named in the squad for the first time by head coach and former Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls hooker Matt Diskin, making his debut against Toulouse alongside fellow debutant George Senior. He only joined the club in the week from amateur side Dewsbury Moor, and came off the bench to make his first appearance as replacement.
The news prompted an outpouring of sympathy within the rugby league community. Rochdale Hortnets, who have been battling Batley in this season’s Championship, tweeted: “The thoughts of everyone at Rochdale Hornets are today with the loved ones of Archie Bruce and all at the @BatleyRLFC club. Truly heartbreaking - Rest In Peace.”
London Broncos said: “The thoughts and condolences of everyone at @LondonBroncosRL go out to the friends and family of Archie Bruce and all at @BatleyRLFC #rugbyfamily.”
French Police have not yet released any details surrounding Bruce’s death with inquiries ongoing, and the club have delayed their return from France.
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