An Auckland rugby referee who suffered a fatal heart attack during a game committed himself fully to everything he did.

Graham Eddy, 44, a police officer, was refereeing last Friday at Karaka when he had a heart attack and collapsed. Someone at the game tried to resuscitate him and called 111.

The heart attack was "extremely unexpected" as Eddy was "very fit", friend and fellow referee Nigel Bradley said.

Bradley met Eddy through refereeing in Waiuku. He said Eddy was passionate about refereeing and where he was going with it.

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"He certainly had ambitions to referee premier rugby regularly," Bradley said.

Bradley brought Eddy's wife Allie to the rugby grounds after the heart attack.

"I was present on Friday, I actually picked his wife up and took her to the grounds. She was pretty distraught on Friday night.

"There were a number of referees present who gave Allie a lot of support."

Bradley remembered Eddy as "great to deal with".

"He wasn't shy to give an opinion, he was a passionate rugby man and we had some great conversations about all things rugby."

The family have also remembered Eddy as someone who fully committed himself to things and had a love of people.

He met his wife in 1995, and their relationship was official by April 1996.

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The pair dated for eight years before getting married.

Eddy loved snowboarding and every season would be up at 4am and on the slopes by 8.30am, then home in Auckland by 8pm.

He was also into rugby, mountain biking, rallying, road biking, landscaping, gardening, general DIY, and was a coffee connoisseur.

His family remembered him as someone who could talk to anyone, and who enjoyed nothing more than helping others.

Having been in the automotive industry for many years, he was looking for a new challenge and joined the police in 2009.

Eddy also leaves behind two daughters, Maddie and Scarlett.

Counties Manukau Rugby Referees Association said in an online tribute that Eddy had been refereeing in their league for the past three seasons after making the move south from Auckland to Waiuku.

"He was a valued member of our association who loved the friendship we have here," the post read.

"It is incredibly sad to have lost someone so young and fit and he will be dearly missed."

His funeral will be held on Friday.