Rugby league communities around the world are grieving for former Kiwi and Warrior Issac Luke and his family following confirmation his father George had died after a slip on the Taihape-Napier road when Cyclone Gabrielle blasted through the North Island this week.
The New Zealand Herald reported Luke and his partner Mau Goodman were travelling to Hastings from Rotorua on Monday night.
They took the route over the Kaweka Ranges when bad weather closed the Napier-Taupo road.
When the family did not hear from the couple a search was launched, with appeals being made on social media.
They were eventually located yesterday and evacuated by helicopter separately and flown to Hawke’s Bay Hospital in Hastings, where Luke later died. The Herald reported Goodman was now recovering.
Issac Luke, who made 83 appearances for the Warriors from 2016-2019, spent last week in Rotorua where he was an assistant coach for the Māori All Stars for their match against the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday.
He returned to Brisbane on Sunday but is now preparing to fly to Taranaki where his father was a stalwart of the Hawera Hawks.
On their Facebook page, the Hawks described George Luke as “our tōtara tree”.
On his Facebook page Issac Luke wrote: “Broken. My first HERO Hori George Luke. See you soon dad. I love you.”
The One New Zealand Warriors’ family of current and former players, staff, families, sponsors, members and fans extend their deepest sympathies to Issac Luke and his family.