Former Kiwi captain Quentin Pongia has died after an ongoing battle with cancer.
The previous New Zealand test-front rooker underwent surgery last November to remove a gut tumor, then he told nine.com.au: "I'm about to repair now and pray I can overcome this forward."
However, New Zealand Rugby League's CEO Greg Peters confirmed Herald They received the news of his death today.
"He's had cancer at a time most people would know, and it's just finally, unfortunately, taken him," Peters said.
"He was an icon of the game, a big block and a fearless player. He had a great identity in the game during his game career and it's just really tragic to see cancer taking another big man too early."
The relentless prop that greeted the West Coast played 137 NRL games and 35 tests for the kiwis in a 13-year career, throwing a reputation as one of the game's most feared players.
Arriving at NRL in 1993 as part of a star-studded Canberra Raider outfit, he quickly made his name for himself with his style.
He continued to win the premiership with the club a year later before standing with Warriors, Roosters, Dragons and Wigan. Pongia returned to New Zealand to join the Warriors in 1998 and played 18 games before leaving Tri-Colors the following season.
His involvement in the NRL did not end when his gaming days were finished. In 2017, he joined Manly Sea Eagles as the club's well-being. But could not work after his operation last year, he returned to the west coast with family.
The warriors recently announced that they would host a lunch to support Pongia in his ongoing struggle, with league fans, Pongia's former teammates and other celebrities who were to be assembled for the event at the Ellerslie Event Center on June 7.
The warriors are not the only club in the NRL to raise funds to help Pongia. Earlier this year, they joined the Sea Eagles and Raiders to donate items to an auction held to help Pongia and his family.