Long-time sevens commentator, Willie Los’e, has sadly passed away at the age of 55.
Los’e was due to commentate for Sky Sports on the Rugby World Cup Sevens taking place in Cape Town this weekend.
An iconic voice on the sevens circuit, particularly in New Zealand, the tributes have been coming in thick and fast for the former Tongan international captain.
We are very sorry to hear that Willie Los’e passed away last night in South Africa. Willie was a long-serving and highly-regarded member of the Sky Sport commentary team and the wider Sky family.
Our thoughts and condolences are with Willie’s whānau at this time 🖤 pic.twitter.com/LIKSimo54V
— Sky Sport NZ (@skysportnz) September 8, 2022
On the field he was tough and uncompromising, off it he was a respected and renowned voice. Willie Los’e, you will be missed by the rugby family.
Rest in Peace Willie. 🖤🇹🇴 pic.twitter.com/fYkP6SPecS
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 8, 2022
The Rugby World lost a really, really special one today in Willie Los’e. He showed many of us the way in commentary and was always smiling when he did. A great man who genuinely loved the game and who will be deeply and sadly missed.
— Sean Maloney (@seanny202) September 8, 2022
In a statement the family have confirmed the sad news of his death:
“The Los’e whanau would like to thank Karl Te Nana, Bailey Mackey and World Rugby boss Steve Jamieson for contacting us directly from South Africa this morning relating to the sudden passing of our brother Willie.
“We ask that as a whanau, we be given time to process and work through our devastating loss and the logistics of repatriation of our brother, father, uncle, son home. We are awaiting details from Cape Town.
“Thanks to Steve Jamieson who has spoken to the New Zealand High Commission, who will be heading to Cape Town tomorrow to help with the repatriation of Willie’s body to bring him home to Aotearoa.
“We as a whanau are thankful to all Willie’s friends from around the world who have sent to Willie’s friends from around the world who have sent their condolences and support.
“Nga mihi nui ki a koutou.”