New Zealand rugby star Sione Lauaki has sadly passed away
New Zealand rugby star Sione Lauaki has sadly passed away aged just 35.
The news of his passing was announced by the All Blacks and his former club team, the Hamilton-based Chiefs.
The back-row forward was forced to retire from the professional sport back in 2012 due to kidney and cardiovascular problems.
The announcement said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sione Lauaki this morning.
“The formidable forward first debuted for the Chiefs in 2004, playing 70 games for us before departing New Zealand in 2010 to continue his career in France.
“In addition to his on-field heroics, Sione was a much loved and respected team-mate.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sione’s family and friends and with the entire Chiefs whanau (family) as today we have lost a brother. Rest in peace Sione, always a Chief.”
The sports star played 17 Tests for the All Blacks from 2005 to 2008, before taking his career to France in 2010.
While in Europe he played for Clermont Auvergne and Bayonne.
The cause of his death has yet to be confirmed.