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UPDATE: Ituau Senator Seui Laau passes away

Sen. Seui Laau, Sr., "passed away peacefully” at LBJ Medical Center at around 11:30pm Thursday, said his son Rep. Larry Sanitoa.

Seui was 69 years-old and was serving his first term in the Senate as one of the two Ituau senators at the time of his death.

Seui had served as Chief Procurement Officer and Parks and Recreation Department director in the Tauese and Togiola administrations before entering the Senate in January 2009 where he chaired the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Sanitoa told Samoa News yesterday morning that their mother Palepa and their family were at his father’s side at the time of his death.

"Nu’uuli village leaders along with my dad’s church minister Rev. Dr. Elia Ta’ase were also by his side when he passed away,"  said Sanitoa.

 Gov. Togiola Tulafono and First Lady Mary Ann attended the brief prayer service, at the hospital chapel, upon Seui's passing, along with three senators, some cabinet members and several members of Seui’s church congregation and village .

Seui was taken to the hospital, from his home, late Thursday afternoon where he later passed away, said other family members.

“Our family is deeply saddened by our Father’s passing, however, we are comforted in knowing he is at peace now,” Sanitoa told Samoa News. “Dad was a self-made man, who, from humble beginnings, worked hard to provide for his family and his achievements are the fruits of his labor.”

“He was a straight talker and at times it was not well received by those who didn’t know him well. But, he was a person that always spoke straight from the heart, and I now believe that was probably what attributed to his ‘big’ heart,” said Sanitoa.

“My dad was not perfect, nor is any other human being, but he was full of compassion and had a lot of love for his family, church, village and country.  Dad was a great man that I am honored and privileged to have served with in the Fono and I will dearly miss his fatherly advice as well as his deep words of wisdom on life in general,” he said.

Seui’s “greatest accomplishment was building a strong family; his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his treasure and his gift to all of us is a lasting heritage,” he added.

At yesterday’s Senate Government Operations Committee hearing vice chair Sen. Fonoti T. Aufata offered prayers and remembered her Senate colleague. A moment of silence was also observed at the start of yesterday’s Senate session and prayers offered for the late senator and his family.  His vacant chair inside the Senate chamber was draped with a fresh, white ginger lei.

Funeral services are pending for Seui, who is survived by his wife, Palepa, their five children, grandchildren and great-grand children.

Samoa News extends our deepest condolences to the family in their time of sorrow and sadness.