The death of Maori All Blacks and Chiefs back Sean Wainui in a car crash last week is currently being investigated as a suspected suicide, authorities in New Zealand have confirmed.
Wainui, a rising star who won the Junior World Championship with New Zealand in 2015, passed away in a single-vehicle accident on 18 October when his car hit a tree.
The 25-year-old wing made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2016 before moving to the Chiefs in 2018.
Coroner Louella Dunn confirmed to the New Zealand Herald that Wainui’s death “is being treated as a suspected suicide”.
Interim suppression orders have been made around the circumstances of Wainui’s death, which means no further details can be published at this stage.
Police said they were notified at 7:50am last Monday that a vehicle had crashed into a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island.
“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,” New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.
Robinson asked media to give the Wainui family “space to grieve as we all reflect on a young life that has ended far too early”.
The All Blacks performed a haka in his memory ahead of their 104-14 win over the United States in Washington this past Saturday.
South African Depression & Anxiety Group – SADAG: (0800) 12 13 14