SEVENS maestro Waisale Serevi saluted the contribution of Nelson Mandela to the sport he loved above all, rugby.
The former South African president passed away at the age of 95 yesterday.
Former Fiji 7s coach and skipper Serevi joined the rest of the world in mourning the loss of a great leader who was also an ardent rugby supporter.
"I share the world's grief at the death of Nelson Mandela. He spent a lifetime fighting for causes near and dear to me and critical to the whole of humanity," Serevi said in a statement.
"As we all know, Mandela was a great fan of rugby, and though he was long jailed for his stances on human rights, he delivered his country the World Cup in 1995.
"Last weekend, I was in Dubai and was honoured to play for J9 foundation which was founded by a member of the South African squad that hosted that 1995 tournament, Joost Van Der Westhuizen, a fantastic player and himself quite ill."
Serevi said Mandela was and would remain an inspiration to him and his family.
"â€¦ not only for what he did for rugby, but for what he did for his country and for humanity.
"I remember Mr. Mandela saying in a 1994 interview, 'Death is inevitable. When a man has done what he considers his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity.
"May he rest in peace and may God bless his family and the people of South Africa as the world celebrates his lasting legacy."