REVEREND Tuikilakila Waqairatu showed great promise since he was appointed as the Methodist Church leader last year, says the marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Temumu Kepa.
The paramount chief of the Rewa province said Mr Waqairatu was influential in the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Methodist missionaries in Rewa.
"It's a great loss not only for the church but also for the country because it has just been one year into his new term," she said.
"He showed great promise for us in working more closely with other churches."
Ro Temumu said the people of Rewa looked forward to seeing the positive work of Mr Waqairatu.
"We had looked forward to working with him in bringing us closer together, not only for the Methodist Church but the various Christian denominations in Rewa.
"Bringing us closer together in working for one vision and that was to make us better people in terms of bringing Christ's message to us."
Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, a close relative of Mr Waqairatu, said he was firm in the decisions that he made and abided by the constitution of the church.
"I visited him at home two weeks ago, he appeared well and very positive. We chatted for quite a while and he dropped me back home.
"Our latest conversation he told me, you know you can naturally talk to God in your quiet time. He always encouraged people to serve God and serve him faithfully."
She said her sympathy was with his family and the church.