Reverend, Malua graduate passes away in quarantine

A Samoan Reverend and Malua Theological College graduate died suddenly while in COVID-19 quarantine in New Zealand shortly after Christmas, his family has confirmed. 

Reverend Samata Iusitini Leiloa passed away suddenly while in a managed isolation facility at Auckland’s Millennium Hotel, Tauanu'u Nick Bakulich, a spokesman for his family confirmed. 

He is the first person ever to die while in quarantine but did not pass away from COVID-19, authorities confirmed. 

Rev. Leiloa had returned from Samoa on Christmas Day, Tauanu'u said.

The New Zealand citizen died from natural causes but his death has been reported to the coroner. 

“He is survived by his wife, brother, three sisters and a large extended family,” Tauanu'u said in a 29 December statement. 

“A funeral will be held to celebrate his life and the family respectfully ask for privacy during this very sad time.”

Rev. Leiloa was 63 years old.

He had been serving out a mandatory 14-day period of quarantine for incoming passengers to New Zealand when he passed away. 

A report in the Otago Daily Times newspaper said this was the first case of a person dying while in quarantine. 

The Reverend’s large extended family were thrown into mourning and tributes overflowed on social media. 

New Zealand authorities confirmed his death was not caused by a case of the coronavirus. 

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