WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Feb 12 – Former All Black Sione Lauaki has died at the age of 35, New Zealand Rugby said Sunday.
The cause of death was not immediately revealed but the powerful loose forward had apparently suffered from kidney failure.
“The thoughts of everyone are with the family of Sione Lauaki. Sione played 17 Tests from 2005-2008. AB#1055. Gone too soon. RIP, Wax,” New Zealand Rugby tweeted, referring to Lauaki by his nickname.
Lauaki made his Super Rugby debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2004 and was selected for the All Blacks for his maiden Test against Fiji the following year. He was a member of the 2007 World Cup squad.
“Another brother gone! Much love and Condolences to his family,” tweeted former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, leading tributes from former teammates.
Sonny Bill Williams referred to Lauaki as Dox, a reference go the Dox Brothers fashion label he was involved with.
“Damn. It’s a sad day today, rest easy Dox,” Williams wrote on Twitter.
Before being selected for the All Blacks, Lauaki played for the one-off Pacific Islands combination against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
In later years he played in France, before being affected by health problems.