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Dylan Mika — rest in peace

[tribute photo from Facebook]

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — Dylan Mika, who played seven tests for the All Blacks and two for Samoa, has died. He was 45.

It is understood Mika, who suffered from diabetes, died from a heart attack.

Mika's family have described him as a "warm, wonderful, and caring man".

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said the rugby community was stunned by the news and deeply saddened at his passing.

"Dylan is one of the rare talents, that represented both Samoa and New Zealand at a time when rugby had not long turned professional," he said in a statement.

"He continued to have an active involvement in rugby both in Auckland and Samoa, and in particular, in his loyalty to the New Zealand Barbarians. Our thoughts are with Dylan's family and friends."

Mika was New Zealand-born but played his first two internationals for Samoa, in 1994.

Mika was proud of his Samoan heritage and made a number of trips to Samoa after the devastating tsunami in 2009 to help with the rebuilding program.

Read more at Stuff New Zealand