The New Zealand acting community is in mourning after the shock death of actor Pua Magasiva.
The 38-year-old former Shortland Street star died suddenly overnight Friday during a visit to Wellington, where much of his family live. His wife is understood to have been in the capital with him.
He had been on a night out with friends at a bar in the Inter-Continental hotel in the capital's CBD shortly before 7pm. He was welcoming to both staff and other bar-goers.
"He was happy, upbeat and talking to everyone including the bar staff," a fellow guest said.
"He was very positive ... and complimenting the staff.
"I thought 'that's one positive guy and an exceptionally good actor'."
Magasiva was also asking which were Wellington's top bars.
The man took a series of photos and a short video after recognising Magasiva from his acting roles to share with his friends.
Several hours later the man returned to the hotel and saw several police cars outside.
He didn't realise the officers were following up Magasiva's death until yesterday afternoon when he read stories of the actor's death.
Yesterday Magasiva's older brother, actor Robbie, was flying to be with family in Wellington.
Management of the Inter-Continental would not comment to the Herald on Sunday last night.
Earlier, police had confirmed they were called to a sudden death at an address in the Wellington central business district in the early hours of Saturday morning. The death will be referred to the coroner.
A spokeswoman for South Pacific Pictures, which makes Shortland Street, confirmed Magasiva's death and said she could not make any further comment.
On Friday morning, Magasiva's wife Lizz Sadler posted a photo on Instagram from Wellington airport saying 'arrived'. The couple married in April last year, 18 months after meeting on Instagram.
Magasiva has a young daughter from his first marriage, and Sadler has a daughter from a previous relationship.
The pair travelled to Bali last month to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
Born in Apia, Samoa, Magasiva moved to New Zealand aged just 2, was raised in Wellington and attended St Patrick's College.
Magasiva had played the much-loved role of nurse Vinnie Kruse between 2003-06 and then 2011-18.
Fellow former Shortland Street stars Nicole Whippy and Teuila Blakely were among high-profile actresses and actors to post their sorrow yesterday.
Blakely put up a post of a broken heart on Instagram, while Whippy posted: "I'll never forget that beautiful smile brother. My heart breaks for your aiga [family]."
Shane Cortese – who has starred in Shortland Street as well as Nothing Trivial and Westside – wrote: "My heart goes out to the Magasiva family and the extended television alumni who had the honour of seeing the glint in his eye and the sound of his hearty laugh close hand. RIP my friend."
Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Valerie Adams also shared her sorrow, posting: "Rest in Peace Pua Magasiva. Thoughts and prayers to the family."
As well as starring in Shortland Street, he also had key roles in the Power Rangers television series, Sione's Wedding and Outrageous Fortune.
Magasiva had co-hosted the breakfast show on Flava, a radio station owned by NZME, but left the show last year. NZME is the publisher of the Herald on Sunday.
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said: "It is with deep sadness that the NZME family has today been told of the sudden death of Pua Magasiva.
"At this incredibly difficult time our thoughts, prayers and condolences go to Pua's family, friends and his many colleagues.
"For us at NZME, Pua was a loved member of our radio team at Flava. We've been in touch with Pua's former workmates and are offering them support."
Workers from Flava wrote on Facebook: "RIP to our brother. Our thoughts and prayers are with his whānau and friends."
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