Former Leicester Tigers player Seru Rabeni dies aged 37
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 28/03/16 2:04pm
Former Leicester and Fiji centre Seru Rabeni has died at the age of 37.
The powerful midfielder made 63 appearances for the Tigers between 2004 and 2009 before a year with Leeds Carnegie.
He also represented Fiji at both the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, played in two Hong Kong Sevens series and the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and turned out for the Barbarians.
The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation said Rabeni, who played for the Otago Highlanders in New Zealand and won 30 international caps, died at home in Nakasi in his homeland on Tuesday morning while having breakfast.
The cause of his death is not known at this stage. Reports from Fiji say Rabeni passed away at his Nausori home while having breakfast. He had recently recovered from illness, according to fijivillage.com.
Leicester chief executive Simon Cohen said: "Seru was a lovely, lovely man, he was extremely friendly, very popular among all the players and the staff. He always had a smile on his face. He always made light of even difficult situations.
"He generally brought warmth to the training ground and the whole of Welford Road. He was a fantastic player, he had the amazing combination of guile, a quick step and huge physicality.
"Those who saw the 2007 Premiership Final will never forget his performance that day."
Former Leicester winger Tom Varndell said on Twitter: "Such sad news to wake to, that Seru Rabeni has died. Fantastic player & great to have played with him at @LeicesterTigers. Rest in peace Seru."
Australia winger Lote Tuqiri, who was born in Fiji, tweeted: "Man just heard the news of Fijian and @LeicesterTigers legend Seru Rabeni passing this morning in Fiji. A great man taken way too young @ 37".
Super Rugby club Highlanders tweeted: "Saddened to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni today, our thoughts are with your family. #Highlander92"