The rugby league star son of Shane Michael King, who died in a car crash near Tauranga this week, has paid tribute on social media to "the most amazing caring loving dad".

King, 51, of Putaruru, was in a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 29 on the Lower Kaimai on Tuesday night.

Police divers later found his body inside the car, which left the road and ended up submerged in the Wairoa River. A woman who was also in the car survived the crash.

Police at the scene of the Wairoa River crash. Photo / File
Police at the scene of the Wairoa River crash. Photo / File

King's son, Jeremy Marshall-King, who plays in the NRL for the Canterbury Bulldogs and is representing New Zealand for the first time this weekend at the Rugby League World Cup Nines in Sydney, wrote on Facebook that he was "so so hurt" and that he "never thought this day would come so soon".

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The 23-year-old, who is the half-brother of Kiwis legend Benji Marshall, also said: "I'm gonna miss you so much dad … my heart is broken into so many pieces and I still don't believe this is true…"

He said: "I wish I can just take back time and I'm proud to call you my dad. I'm gonna miss our talks late at night and get my pre-game talks from you."

Marshall-King said in the Facebook post that he would never let his kids forget their koro.

In another post, he said: "Love you dad! Playing for you this weekend".

And earlier this afternoon Marshall-King posted on Facebook: "Still hurts and still doesn't feel real but I know you will be next to me on the field love you".

Marshall-King made his NRL debut in 2017, playing for the Tigers against the Warriors in Sydney in the last round of the season. At the end of that match Marshall, who was in the stands watching, led an emotional haka for his half brother.

Marshall-King shifted to the Bulldogs at the end of that season and has since become a regular for the Canterbury-Bankstown side, playing 23 matches in each of the last two seasons. That consistency and some stellar form as the Bulldogs made an unlikely surge for the playoffs in August and September has propelled the youngster into Michael Maguire's Nines' squad.

Benji Marshall, family and friends perform an impromptu haka for Jeremy Marshall-King following the match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors at Leichhardt Oval in 2017. Photo / Getty Images
Benji Marshall, family and friends perform an impromptu haka for Jeremy Marshall-King following the match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors at Leichhardt Oval in 2017. Photo / Getty Images

Meanwhile, another of Shane King's sons, Erick Lammas, wrote on Facebook this week that his dad was "the most caring loving and supportive man".

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Lammas also said: "I'm gonna hold my brothers tight and never let go and same with you dad I'll never let you go and we will all be together again in the next life…"

The investigation into Tuesday's crash is ongoing.

Police are appealing for the public to come forward with information about the crash.

A 48-year-old woman who was also in the car was in a stable condition in Tauranga Hospital as of yesterday.