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Ex-New Zealand Test and Balmain star Olsen Filipaina passes away following kidney failure

Former New Zealand Test star Olsen Filipaina has lost his fight against kidney failure.

The ex-Balmain and New Zealand Test star had been in ICU at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital on a ventilator, but the Daily Telegraph has now reported that the smiling giant has passed away.

Filipaina was taken to hospital with a stomach infection three weeks ago but deteriorated in that time, with Olsen’s brother Alf putting out a detailed statement on Facebook.

“His condition improved over a few days regarding the infection, but [the] kidney problem that he has had for many years worsened, to the extent that he had to be transported to Westmead Hospital, where he was to be seen by the kidney specialists,” Alf wrote.

“Over the past few days he’s been up and down and as a result is now in ICU.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and the whānau as I know yours will be too.”

“I am devastated, it’s terrible news. I’m really upset,” said former Balmain teammate Garry Jack. “Olsen was a great fellow.

“When he put his mind to it, Olsen was unstoppable. Not too many get over the top of Wally but Olsen did that in 1985.

“Olsen was a very proud Kiwi. Once he pulled on that black and white jersey, my God, he became unstoppable. I’ve never seen a player transform the way he did when playing for his country.

“He was a very easy-going bloke, just a lovely bloke. I’m so sad.”

Filipaina played seven seasons of rugby league in Australia between 1980 and 1987 for the Balmain Tigers, Eastern Suburbs Roosters and North Sydney Bears.

He also earned caps representing New Zealand and Western Samoa.

Everyone at Serious About Rugby League passes on their condolences to Filipaina’s family and friends.

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