Sione Lauaki passes away, age 35

Former Chiefs and All Blacks loose forward Sione Lauaki has passed away, age 35.

The blockbusting forward had recently been on dialysis having been diagnosed with renal failure and cardiovascular problems in 2012.

Lauaki made his debut for the Chiefs in 2004 before earning an All Black call-up in 2005. He played 70 Super Rugby matches and was capped 17 times for New Zealand.

Leaving for French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne in 2010, Lauaki made the move to Bayonne in 2011 before doctors discovered his health issues, ordering him not to train or play.

This prompted Bayonne to release him from the club.

Former All Black Stephen Donald told Newshub that "he was a bloody great man."

Lauaki made a name as a blockbusting back-rower which saw him mentioned in the same breath as All Blacks teammates Rodney So'oialo and Jerry Collins.

Before making his debut for the All Blacks, Lauaki made three appearances for the Pacific Islanders team, scoring tries against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

He was selected for the All Blacks out of that side alongside winger Sitiveni Sivivatu.

In 2006, the All Black ran into some trouble with the law, admitting to assaulting a security officer in Hamilton before appearing in court in 2009 for damaging a Auckland motel unit. In 2010, Lauaki also admitted to a second assault charge in Hamilton.

His younger brother Epalahame Lauaki played for the the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL.

Lauaki was reportedly living in Rarotonga and running a cafe with his wife Stephanie.