7 Nov 2013

Fatialofa's body to be flown to New Zealand

4:38 pm on 7 November 2013

The body of rugby legend Papalii Peter Fatialofa will be flown from Apia to New Zealand tonight for his funeral.

The 54-year-old former captain of the Manu Samoa died of an apparent heart attack in Apia yesterday morning.

Samoa's Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi led mourners from the government, the Samoa Rugby Union, business and fans of Fatialofa at a government service.

This was followed by a prayer service at the Catholic Church in Vaivase which Fatialofa had attended on Sunday.

People spoke of Fatialofa's love and the commitment to rugby which had made him an international icon of the sport.

They also spoke of his love of Samoa, friends and rugby peers.

Thousands are expected to turn out at Faleolo Airport this evening to farewell Fats as he makes his final journey from Samoa to Auckland, where he will be laid to rest.