A Hunter region product, Stewart made his NSL debut with Adamstown Rosebud in 1982.

He played for APIA Leichhardt and Newcastle Breakers, before moving to South-East Asia where he had spells with Johor FA and Balestier Central.

He was the first Australian to lift the Malaysian Cup, winning the trophy with Johor in 1998.

The defender earned three caps for Australia, making his international debut in 1992.



Stewart moved into coaching after retiring in 2001 and had spells with Balestier Khalsa, Geylang International, Gombak United and Woodlands Wellington in Singapore.

He was appointed head coach of the Maldives national football team in 2016.

Newcastle Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna was a close friend of Stewart and his family, with the pair playing together at APIA, Blacktown City and the Breakers.

"Very sad news I had the privilege of playing with Darren in the late 80s at Apia, Blacktown City and Newcastle Breakers," McKinna posted on Facebook.

"In my opinion he should have made more than 3 Socceroo appearances. The Jets will wear black armbands today in respect to a great player from Newcastle."