Former New Zealand and Samoa flanker Dylan Mika died in Auckland on Tuesday at the age of 45, his family have announced. According to reports by local media, he died from a suspected heart attack.
Mika played two tests for Samoa in 1994 before switching his allegiance to New Zealand. With the All Blacks he played a total of seven Tests and one game – all in 1999. Perhaps, he is best remembered for his time at the Auckland Rugby Union, where he played between 1994 and 2000 and for representing New Zealand at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
RIP Tiumalu Dylan Mika - #AllBlack982. It's with sadness we confirm that the former All Black & Manu Samoa star passed away suddenly today. Our thoughts are with his family. Ia manuia lou malaga.— New Zealand Rugby (@NZRugby) 20 March 2018
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"Gone far too soon"
His family released a statement earlier today: “It is with great sadness that the family of Dylan announce that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly [on] Tuesday, March 20. Dylan was a very much-loved husband and father to Tracy and their daughter Marley, and dearly loved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend. He was a hugely talented athlete, well-respected in the Samoan community and abroad but just as importantly, to his friends and family a warm, wonderful, and caring man. Gone far too soon at the age of just 45.”
A rare talent
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said that the national rugby community was shocked by the news of Mika’s 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 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”.