Former Fijian and Highlanders centre Seru Rabeni has died at the age of 37, local media reported on Tuesday.

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation said Rabeni, who played for the Highlanders before switching to England's Leicester Tigers, died at home in Nakasi. The cause of death is thought to be a heart attack.

Rabeni, who also played for Otago in the NPC in 2002 and 2004, played 11 games for the Highlanders, scoring three tries.

Renowned for his bruising tackles and powerful running, Rabeni represented his country 30 times, playing at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and also featured on the World Sevens Series and at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


The Highlanders shared their condolences on Twitter.

Lote Tuqiri, Alando Soakai and Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan were among others to share their memories of Rabeni and mourn his loss.

Rabeni's former Highlanders teammate and former All Black, Nick Evans posted a tribute on Twitter.

"Shocked to hear the passing of my old Highlanders teammate Seru Rabeni. Gave the pass for my first Super Rugby try. #RIPMate"