Former All Blacks winger Joeili Vidiri has died, aged 48.
Vidiri, who played two Tests for the All Blacks and represented Fiji seven times, endured a 14-year wait for a kidney donor before finally undergoing transplant surgery in 2016.
It’s understood Vidiri was overseas travelling the United States at the time of his passing. The cause of death is not known at this stage.
Vidiri is the third former league or union player of Pacific Island decent to have died suddenly in the last few days, following the passing of Olsen Filipaina on 10 February and Inga Tuigamala on 24 February.
With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Joeli Vidiri, aged 48.
G.O.A.T is used frequently these days, more than it should. In the case of Joeli the title truly fits. One of the greatest players of all time.
62 games, 43 tries & 2 Titles.
RIL Blues Brother #21 ???????????? pic.twitter.com/51FovQgI1d
— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) February 25, 2022
Our thoughts are with the loved ones and our rugby family at @AllBlacks, @manusamoa, @fijirugby and @BluesRugbyTeam on the unfortunate passing of Va'aiga Tuigamala and Joeli Vidiri, two stars of the game we all love so much. #RIP pic.twitter.com/2azeMZc8bd
— Springboks (@Springboks) February 25, 2022
‘Give me hope, Joeli’ (to the tune of ‘Give me Hope, Joanna’) was his theme song rocking Eden Park in the 1990s. It was played a *lot*. What a talent. What a star. RIP https://t.co/9i9C0o3ZuY
— Tim Murphy (@tmurphyNZ) February 25, 2022
Va’aiga Tuigamala was the best schoolboy rugby player I ever saw. When Kelston BHS came to Hamilton Boys’ in ’87, Inga carved us up. His influence on both codes, in multiple nations, was immense.
Joeli Vidiri was electric. Seemed to defy physics. A gem of a man.
RIP legends ????
— James McOnie (@JamesMcOnie) February 25, 2022