The body of Samoan rugby great Peter Fatialofa was tonight on its way back to New Zealand.
The 54-year-old former Manu Samoa and Auckland rugby representative and Ponsonby club member suffered a heart attack yesterday while travelling to a radio interview on Samoa's main island, Upolu.
A requiem mass was held at Vaivase Tai, just inland of Apia, for Fatialofa this morning, the Talamua website reported.
His body rested for a final time before being prepared for the trip to return him to his family in Auckland this evening.
It was understood his wife Anne wanted her husband brought over as soon as possible, the website said.
Members of the Samoan Government, diplomats and schoolchildren were among those who paid their respects.
Singer Anika Moa tweeted earlier today: "Watching the Peter Fatialofa funeral procession at Samoa airport! He is on our flight. RIP. X.
Journalist Michael Field also tweeted: "Pita Fatialofa's body on the Air NZ flight arriving at 10.30pm''.