Former New Zealand flanker Dylan Mika dies aged 45

Former New Zealand international Dylan Mika has died suddenly at the age of 45, his family have announced.

Flanker Mika played seven Tests for the All Blacks and was a member of their 1999 World Cup squad.

He died at his home in Auckland on Tuesday, leaving a wife and daughter.

"It is with great sadness that the family of Dylan announce that he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in Auckland," his family said in a statement published on allblacks.com.

"Dylan was a very much loved husband to Tracy, father to 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 caring man. Gone far too soon at the age of just 45."

Mika initially played international rugby for Samoa, before switching his allegiance to New Zealand.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said: "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."

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