Rugby star dies after suffering ‘horror fall’
New Zealand-born Spanish rugby star Kawa Leauma has died days after he was rushed to hospital in critical condition with severe head injuries following a 'multi-story' fall from a building outside of Amsterdam.
Leauma, 32, passed away in hospital following what was described as a 'freak accident' last Saturday night near the Dutch capital, it was announced on Tuesday.
The back row forward was in the Netherlands in the hope of representing Spain's national team in the Rugby Europe Championship clash with their European neighbors, but was subsequently withdrawn from selection amid concerns about his eligibility to represent the Spanish team following a change in the necessary regulations.
It is understood that he had expected to qualify as a Spanish international after completing a three-year residency in the country and that he had played an unofficial game for the country earlier this year.
Reports state that Leauma suffered what were described as 'serious' injuries to his head after falling from a venue operated by the Dutch team's sponsors on Saturday night. He underwent emergency surgery soon after and his treatment had continued in intensive care.
The accident is reported to have occurred in the city of Leiden, around 30 miles outside of Amsterdam after he had travelled to the area to meet several other Dutch-based players with whom he was acquainted earlier in his career.
One report referenced by The Sun suggests that the fall may have occurred after the floor he has standing on gave way. Investigations into the circumstances of his death are underway.
#FERugby | Comunicado oficial: Kawa Leauma ha fallecido esta noche en Ámsterdamhttps://t.co/EANN3lHlnL— España Rugby (@ferugby) December 21, 2021
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Spain international Kawa Leauma. My thoughts are with his teammates & family at this difficult time @ferugby— Sir Bill Beaumont (@BillBeaumont) December 21, 2021
We are saddened about the news coming from Spain. My sincere condolences and prayers for Kawa Leauma’s family and friends. Rest in peace, Kawa. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/7402Op2r38— Octavian Morariu (@MorariuOctavian) December 21, 2021
A statement from Spanish Rugby on Tuesday confirmed that Leauma had passed: "The Spanish Rugby Federation regrets to announce the death of Kawa Leauma overnight, AMPO Ordizia and XV del Leon player, who suffered an accident on Saturday, December 18 after Spain’s match against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
"At the express wish of his wife, who is currently travelling to the Dutch capital, we cannot give any further information at the moment and we ask for the utmost respect for her and her family.
"Rest in peace, Kawa."
Leauma's passing was met with tributes from within Spanish rugby and the wider community.
"Today, rugby is in mourning," wrote one tribute, via translation. "Rest in peace, Kawa Leauma, thank you for contributing so much."
Rugby legend Bill Beaumont added: "Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Spain international Kawa Leauma. My thoughts are with his teammates & family at this difficult time".
The president of Rugby Europe, Octavian Morariu, also noted that he was "saddened about the news coming from Spain".