SPANISH rugby international Kawa Leauma has died following a fall.
The 32-year-old lost his fight for life in hospital in Amsterdam after his admission on Saturday with severe head injuries.
Spain’s Rugby Federation confirmed the shock news in a statement, saying: “We regret to inform you of the death overnight of Kawa Leauma who suffered a freak accident after Spain’s match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.”
It added: “In accordance with the wishes of his wife, who at this moment in time is travelling towards the Dutch capital, we cannot give out any more information at the moment and ask for maximum respect towards her and her family.
“Rest in peace Kawa.”
Leauma, who had travelled to the Netherlands with Spain’s national rugby team for a Six Nations B match against the Netherlands, is believed to have fallen around 25 feet from the terrace of a shopping centre.
The Auckland, New Zealand-born player was rushed straight into hospital for surgery.
Ordizia Rugby Elkartea, the Spanish Basque Country-based side where he played, had admitted that the last hospital update they had received yesterday was not promising and that he would need more surgery.
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As well as his wife who is still based in New Zealand, his sister has also travelled to Amsterdam from the United States.
Spain won the match against Holland by 52-7 but Leauma, who made several appearances for the Samoa Under-20s before becoming available to play for his adopted homeland through residency, did not play.
He was told on Friday he wouldn’t be used in Saturday’s match but stayed on to watch the action.
His absence from the match was initially wrongly linked to him testing positive for Covid before it was attributed to a ‘red-tape’ problem which led to officials deciding to delay his official debut with the Spanish senior side.
Initial reports immediately after the accident said it had happened as he returned to his hotel.
But it emerged yesterday that it occurred in the city of Leiden near Amsterdam after he decided to meet up following the match with other Dutch-based rugby players he knew from earlier stages of his career.
Reports in Spain point to him possibly entering an area where the floor could have given way beneath him, although an investigation is ongoing.
Leauma, who turned 32 last Friday, was in his fourth season with his current club, better known as AMPO Ordizia.
Tributes have poured in for the much-beloved star.
Marbella Rugby Club wrote on social media: “Today, rugby is in mourning.
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“Our sincere condolences from the entire Marbella Rugby Club to Kawa Leauma’s family and friends and to the Spanish Rugby Federation.
“Rest in peace, Kawa Leauma, thank you for contributing so much.”
While Quebrantahuesos Rugby Club added: “When rugby becomes secondary.
“Our condolences to Kawa Leauma’s family (especially his wife), to @ORDIZIARUGBY and to all XV del León fans.
“Rest in peace, Kawa.”
Among plenty of fan tributes, one wrote: “Cheers for family, teammates and national team! Time to be together and think about Kawa and his family.”
Another added: “My condolences to his family. Much love and support to all who must continue now without him.”