A SON of Fiji whose legendary wars with the elite British SAS (Special Air Services) won him an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) has died.
Kauata Vamarasi Marafono, alias Fred, died peacefully in his sleep in the United Kingdom on Thurday (Fiji time).
He was 72. Tributes from colleagues in his former 22 SAS regiment hailed the Rotuman soldier's achievements - including a book he co-authored, From SAS to Blood Diamond Wars - as an exemplary soldier.
Former SAS colleague Dr Ken Hedges, who served with "Fred" from 1960 until 1980 and was a close colleague of SAS heroes Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, Sekonaia Takavesi, Jim Vakatali and Ilisoni Ligairi, said he was glad they had been on the same side.
"He was a great warrior in the finest tradition of military service so often exemplified by Fijian members of the armed forces," he said.