Former All Blacks flanker Dylan Mika has died from a suspected heart attack.
The 45-year-old played two tests for Samoa and, after serving a three-year stand-down period, seven for the All Blacks, including two against Italy and South Africa at the 1999 World Cup.
Mika, who had diabetes, was a popular figure who cared deeply for Auckland and Samoan rugby. He was also vice president of the New Zealand Barbarians club and an active committee member, working hard in the schools area.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Mika's family described him as a "warm, wonderful, and caring man".
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"It is with great sadness that the family of Dylan announce that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly [on] Tuesday, March 20.
"Dylan was a very much loved husband and father to Tracy and their daughter Marley, and dearly loved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.
"He was a hugely talented athlete, well-respected in the Samoan community and abroad but just as importantly, to his friends and family a warm, wonderful, and caring man.
"Gone far too soon at the age of just 45."
The cousin of former Blues coach Pat Lam, Mika was also friends with Sir Michael Jones and is thought to be close with the Samoan Prime Minister.
Mika played over 50 matches for Auckland from 1994-2000, a time when he competed with Jones, Zinzan Brooke, Charles Riechelmann, Mark Carter and Andrew Blowers.
He also turned out for the Blues and Chiefs, who he captained, during the Super 12.