Former Fiji and Leicester back 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.
The Fiji Village website said the cause of death was unknown but quoted his father-in-law as saying he had been “sick for a while”.
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”.