Former All Blacks Sione Lauaki dead at 35

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Former All Blacks backrower Sione Lauaki has died aged 35.

The New Zealand and Waikato Rugby Unions confirmed Sunday the death of Tonga-born Lauaki who played 17 tests for the All Blacks, including appearing at the 2007 World Cup, and 70 Super Rugby matches for the Waikato-based Chiefs. He also played in France for Bayonne and Clermont.

The cause of death was thought to be kidney failure.

Lauaki's career was cut short in 2012 when he was diagnosed with kidney and cardiovascular ailments which forced his retirement.

His international career was also impeded by off-field incidents, including two court appearances on assault charges which resulted in fines.

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