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26 Oct, 2021 11:54

Car-crash death of New Zealand rugby star Sean Wainui ‘being treated as suspected suicide’ as wife says she is ‘in pieces’

Car-crash death of New Zealand rugby star Sean Wainui ‘being treated as suspected suicide’ as wife says she is ‘in pieces’

The death of former Maori All Blacks star Sean Wainui, 25, in a car crash last week is being treated as a 'suspected suicide', according to reports from his home country of New Zealand.

Wainui, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first player to score five tries in a Super Rugby match, was killed in a single-vehicle accident last Monday October 18 – and local authorities have informed the media that signs point to Wainiu having taken his own life in the horrific incident.

Coroner Louella Dunn confirmed the report to the New Zealand Herald, telling the publication that Wainui's passing "was being treated as a suspected suicide."

Dunn has initiated an interim suppression order surrounding the case, meaning that further details cannot yet be revealed to the media.

According to police, authorities were called to an accident at 7.50am local time after receiving reports that a car had crashed into a tree near Tauranga on New Zealand's north island. Despite best efforts, Wainui couldn't be saved and was pronounced dead shortly after medics arrived at the scene.

He was the sole occupant of the vehicle, and leaves behind a wife and two children.

On Monday, his wife Paige penned a touching tribute to her late husband on Instagram alongside footage of a ceremony remembering his life.

"I’m in absolute pieces and in so much pain knowing my whole other half to me has left this earth … but I will forever celebrate you my love for being the most amazing and incredible husband and father you were and the special years we got to spend together on this earth," she wrote in part.

Wainui was heralded as one of the brightest rugby talents in all of New Zealand, a country which has dominated the sport globally for much of the past decade or more.

In May, he announced that he had signed a deal with Bay of Plenty after leaving the Chiefs, for whom he scored 90 points in just 44 appearances. He had won 10 caps for the Maori All Blacks and was tipped to make his full debut for the New Zealand All Blacks before long.

The All Blacks marked the occasion by performing a Haka (the team's pre-game ceremonial war dance) in tribute to Wainui before the recent international with the United States - with the US team captain laying down a number 11 jersey on the field as a gesture of respect.

"Our thoughts are with Sean and his whanau [family], particularly Paige, Kawariki and Arahia, and we offer them our full support at what is the most difficult of times," said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson, who added that it was a "dark day" for the sport.

"We know Sean’s passing will be felt deeply by everyone involved in rugby, particularly his Bay of Plenty and Chiefs teammates, and we share their sorrow and their shock."

Also on rt.com ‘Dark day’: Shock as All Blacks rugby star dead at 25 in car crash as he is survived by wife and young family