Tributes flow after former All Black and Samoa international Inga Tuigamala dies

Tributes are flowing following the death of All Black and Samoan rugby and league international Va’aiga Tuigamala, known as Inga the winger, at age 52.

The All Blacks tweeted that Tuigamala, who played 19 tests, was “an icon and an inspiration” and “an all-time great who achieved things on and off the pitch others could only dream of”.

“All Black number 900, you will never forgotten.”

His rugby league club, Wigan Warriors, said on Twitter they were “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic news that former player Va’aiga (Inga) Tuigamala has passed away”.

Tuigamala’s death comes three weeks after his younger sister Helen Verry died in an accident at a West Auckland church.

He said at the time: “Helen we miss you so dearly and words would never be enough to fill the hole you have left.”

Tuigamala’s cause of death has not been confirmed. He was about to launch a video series in which he talks openly about his health struggles, including being diagnosed last year with type 2 diabetes.

Tuigamala played 19 tests for the All Blacks from 1991 to 1993, scoring five tries. Coming out of Kelston Boys’ High School, he played for the Ponsonby club and represented Auckland at provincial level.