17 Jun 2014

Tonga prince dies

9:24 am on 17 June 2014

A member of the Tongan Royal Family, Prince Viliami Tupoulahi Mailefihi Tuipelehake, died over the weekend in Nukualofa.

Prince Tuipelehake was a nephew of the late King Taufaahau Tupou IV and succeeded to the noble title Tu'ipelehake, previously held by his brother, the late Prince Tu'ipelehake who died in a road accident in California in 2006.

It is understood Prince Tuipelehake was admitted to Vaiola Hospital on June the 2nd with complications from diabetes.

Prince Tu'ipelehake had been a diabetes patient for a number of years, and had previously undergone amputation of both legs.

He was 56.

Prince Tu'ipelehake was a former member of the Tongan parliament and was one of Tonga's rugby stars.

During the 1970s he was a captain of Tonga's national rugby team.

Salote Starr Schuster, a relative of the Tongan royal family in American Samoa says she was informed of the prince's death on Saturday.

She says funeral services are planned for Thursday and Friday and the prince will be laid to rest at the burial grounds at Pelehake.