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Senator Letuligasenoa Soli passes away in California

Sen. Letuligasenoa Soli of Ili’ili passed away over the weekend at his children’s home in Westminster, Calif., where he had traveled to participate in a family reunion early last month, as well as receive medical treatment while he was there, says his sister, Pamata T. Malae.


The late senator, who was 80-years old, has been in office since January this year for his first four-year term. He is one of two senators representing Tualauta County. The other senator is Magalei Logovi’i.


Mrs. Malae said the late senator’s daughter called her from California about the passing of her older brother, which occurred peacefully around 12:25a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. At the time, it was late in the evening in American Samoa on Friday, Aug. 2.


“I cried and screamed that my brother has died,” Mrs. Malae said in a phone interview with Samoa News on Saturday morning from her home in Iliili. “I miss my brother and I couldn’t stop crying and then screamed again that night.”


Mrs. Malae recalled her brother’s daughter calling later to say that it was the senator’s wish to be released from the hospital in Southern California where he was treated, to go home to his kids and spend his last days with them “at their home and not in a hospital.”


“I was preparing to go up to California to visit my brother very soon, but it is so heart breaking to hear that he has died,” Mrs. Malae said sobbing on the phone. “I’m so missing him already.”


Samoa News learned over the weekend that Senate President ProTemp Nua Saoluaga was informed of the late senator’s passing before he departed Friday night for the mainland to attend a meeting.


Sen. Laolagi F.S Vaeao, who is now the acting Senate President ProTemp, told Samoa News that he learned about Letuligasenoa’s passing early Saturday morning and he expressed condolences to the grieving family.


Laolagi said he hadn't known Letuligasenoa very well when the First Regular Session convened in January, but upon convening of the new Senate over the first three months, he said, “I came to know this great and gentle fellow senator, who we considered as our elder, because of his age.”


Laolagi, who sits only four seats away from Letuligasenoa in the Senate Chamber, recalled how the late senator during confirmation hearings for cabinet directors, always offered a scripture verse from the Bible as the basis of his recommendation to nominees, and closed his remarks by urging the nominee to remember the people of American Samoa.


“It’s sad that I’ve only known the late senator for such a short time. I would have liked to get to know him better, as he seemed to be a very, very humble man,” said Laolagi in a weekend phone interview.


Funeral services for the late senator are pending. He is survived by his six children, 12 grand children and four great grand children.


Samoa News extends our sincere condolences to the grieving family.