At only 17 years old, Jordan Kemp showed all the promise of a rising rugby star before his life was tragically cut short by the game he loved.
The talented hooker, a triplet, collapsed during a game between his side the Otamatea Hawks and Old Boys Marist in Whangarei on Saturday.
It is believed he suffered a brain bleed after a clash of heads.
He was taken to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition and reportedly put in an induced coma, but his life could not be saved.
Family members said he was on life support until yesterday afternoon when he was pronounced dead.
Cousin Kelsey Orford, 17, said Jordan was well liked by everyone and he and his sisters were very close.
"We all grew up together.
"He's like really energetic and sporty. He was always into his rugby."
Orford said the community was gathering today to support the family. "We are just waiting for him to come back and then we are going down to the local marae."
Sister Crishla Kemp posted on Facebook that her brother died yesterday at 3.45pm.
"In the end your with us in spirit my bro I know you'll always be watching over us and I love you soooooo much you have no idea my bro save a spot for me up in heaven for me ! .see you around my bro .rest easy"
The Northland Rugby Union said it was supporting the two clubs involved in the game.
Chief executive Jeremy Parkinson said Jordan was a talented hooker on the rise and had all the potential to make the Northland under-18 side.
He had come from a rugby-loving family with grandfather Russell Kemp a well-known coach in the area in the 1990s.
Kemp's family are being supported by the club as well as the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Rugby Foundation.
Jordan had suffered a head injury earlier in the year but had been cleared to play rugby again.
Parkinson said there was some confusion as to exactly what had led to Jordan's collapse.
He said police and the New Zealand Rugby Union would investigate reasons for his death.
He said the gladatorial nature of rugby was what drew many to the game.
"The Northland Rugby Union do their most to upskill coaches.
"We believe we have got a very robust process in place.
"We have as many measures in place as we can to avoid all this."