Former Leicester Tigers and Fiji international rugby union player Seru Rabeni has died at the age of 37
The bruising Fijian centre made a name for his powerful runs and big tackles
Rabeni’s father-in-law, Viliame Kanatabua, confirmed that Rabeni had recently recovered from being sick after a lengthy illness
Former Leicester and Fiji centre Seru Rabeni has died at the age of 37.
Rabeni represented Fiji at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and Premiership side Leicester between 2004-2009, before joining Leeds.
Nicknamed ‘Rambo’ because of his marriage of pace and brutal tackling, he also played in New Zealand and France and was a noted sevens exponent.
Fiji media reported Rabeni died at his home in Nausori, just outside the capital, Suva, on Tuesday.
Rabeni, who played as a centre or wing, is survived by his wife and two children.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni. Our thoughts go to all his friends and family,” tweeted Leicester.
“Incredibly sad news to hear Seru Rabeni has passed away. Rest in peace big man,” Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan tweeted.
Fiji-born former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri said Rabeni was “a great man taken away too young”, while ex-Samoa centre Eliota Faumaono-Sapolu said Pacific rugby had lost one of its greats.
“Stunned! RIP Seru Rabeni,” tweeted Faumaono-Sapolu. “Absolutely hated every minute playing against you constantly smashing and stepping me.”
Scotland’s James Hamilton, a former team-mate at Leicester, described Rabeni as “an incredible player and lovely man”.
Rabeni made 63 Premiership appearances for the Tigers during a spell between 2004 and 2009, where he quickly grew into a fan favourite due to his physical nature and ability to score having racked up 18 tries, and he was part of the sides that won the Premiership title in 2006/07 and 2008/09.
Very sad to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni yesterday, my thoughts are with his family, friends & rugby followers around the world #RIP😔
— Neil Back MBE (@NeilBack) March 15, 2016
We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni. Our thoughts go to all his friends and family pic.twitter.com/QN07b4bgUO
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) March 15, 2016
Seru Rabeni’s passing is incredibly sad. What a player and a team man. Our support and best wishes go to his family. — Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) March 15, 2016
Incredibly sad to hear the passing of #SeruRabeni. tough as they come on the pitch but a gentle and friendly soul off it. RIP my friend.
— Lewis Moody (@LewisMoody7) March 15, 2016
Just heard the sad news about Seru Rabeni passing. Amazing player and lovely guy off the field. — James Haskell (@jameshaskell) March 15, 2016
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) March 15, 2016
— Tom Youngs (@TomYoungs87) March 15, 2016