Former All Blacks flanker Dylan Mika has died from a suspected heart attack, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The 45-year-old played two tests for Samoa and, after serving a three-year stand-down period, seven for the All Blacks, including two against Italy and South Africa at the 1999 World Cup.
Mika, who had diabetes, was a popular figure who cared deeply for Auckland and Samoan rugby.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Mika’s family described him as a “warm, wonderful, and caring man”.
“It is with great sadness that the family of Dylan announce that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly [on] Tuesday, March 20.
— Newshub Breaking (@NewshubBreaking) March 20, 2018
Oh man. Rest In Peace Dylan Mika
— Dan Bowden (@danbowden_) March 20, 2018
NZ and Samoa lost a great sportsman today. Far too young. Rest in peace #dylanmika
— Gina Williams (@ginawilliamsnz) March 20, 2018
“Dylan was a very much loved husband and father to Tracy and their daughter Marley, and dearly loved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.
“He was a hugely talented athlete, well-respected in the Samoan community and abroad but just as importantly, to his friends and family a warm, wonderful, and caring man.
“Gone far too soon at the age of just 45.”