Brisbane Broncos star Martin Taupau Broncos paid an emotional tribute to his uncle who drowned at Cronulla Beach on Saturday.
Taritiga Taupau, a father of six children, died on the spot after swimming into a rift while trying to save two men caught in a rift on unpatrolled Shelly Beach in Cronulla.
Watch the video above: Cronulla Tragedy: Swimmers Warned to Stay Safe.
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One of the men was placed in an induced coma and is in critical condition at the hospital, while the other was able to swim to shore.
After risking his life to save two men, Martin Taupau said his uncle was more than just a hero.
“He’s over that title now because of what he’s done,” he told Channel Nine.
“It’s really sad that something like this happened, but his actions will never be forgotten.”
After recently leaving the Manly Sea Eagles to sign with the Broncos, Taupau was driving to Brisbane with his family when he was informed of his uncle’s death.
“There’s so much going on and so much to handle,” Taupau said.
“I have the right people, a support network, and my family is fine.”
Taupau also posted on Instagram in honor of his uncle.
“Uncle Manuia Lau Malaga (May he rest in peace forever”),” Taupau wrote on Instagram, followed by a crying emoji, a broken heart emoji and a dove of peace emoji.
Talitiga Taupau’s other nieces and nephews have created GoFundMe accounts to raise money for his family.
“Uncle Tari was a joker, always dancing and laughing, creating a fun atmosphere! It was my niece and nephew’s uncle,” the post read.
“If you knew our uncle, he was always joking and telling cold jokes!
“Recently our dear uncle passed away after making a dangerous choice to save two strangers after being caught in a torrent at Shelly Beach. Even though he knew the risks. Without hesitation, he rushed in. What should have been a lovely visit to the beach turned out to be a heartbreaking day for our family.
“We are still heartbroken, and this is a wound that will not heal soon, but we are comforted and humbled by the end of his heroic life, and I am so grateful for his life.” celebrate!
“All proceeds go directly to our Aunt Saray to help her children and cover part of her funeral expenses. Thank you!
“Thank you for all the thoughts, prayers and love you have sent especially to my aunts and little ones during this time. Glory to God!
“I miss you Grandpa, please rest well now x.”