MFAT confirms New Zealand citizen dies attending Hajj

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) has confirmed that a New Zealand citizen has died whilst attending Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

"MFAT is aware of one New Zealand citizen who has died attending Hajj in Mecca this year. Consular assistance is being provided to the person’s family," a spokesperson said in a statement to Newshub.

An Australian citizen has also died, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed, according to RNZ.

The pilgrimage began on Friday, and at least 550 people have died - most due to heat-related illness.

Thousands have been treated for heatstroke, CNN says.

According to Reuters, hundreds of people have died during Hajj in Saudi Arabia in the past three decades due to tent fires, stampedes and other disasters.

Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams was among the two million who went on the pilgrimage.

He posted to social media "Praying for our brothers and sisters around the world being oppressed, especially the Palestinians facing genocide" along with multiple images of him at Mecca.

Hajj is an Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in their life. It is the fifth Pillar of Islam - the fundamental practices of Islam.