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Samoan rugby player Kelly Meafua dies after falling off bridge in France

Meafua, 31, died early Saturday after a fall in the Tarn river, his club said.
Kelly Meafua, center, of Samoa during the New Zealand rugby Sevens in Wellington on Feb. 7, 2014. Marty Melville / AFP via Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

MONTAUBAN, France — Samoan rugby player Kelly Meafua has died after falling off a bridge in southwestern France, his club said.

The player, 31, died in the early hours of Saturday after a fall in the Tarn river, the Montauban club said in a statement over the weekend.

According to media reports in France, Meafu jumped off the bridge after a night out with friends to celebrate a victory.

Montauban said one of Meafu’s teammates tried to rescue him. The player had to be transported to a hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia.

“Kelly was a player who was well liked by everybody. His joy for life was infectious and radiant. Today we have lost a player, a friend and a brother,” the club said in a statement.

The former Samoa sevens player moved to France in 2015 to play with Narbonne before a return to the southern hemisphere. He moved back to France’s second division in 2018 with Beziers, then signed with Montauban.