HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -Around a hundred friends, family members, former classmates and community members gathered at Farrington High School Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil to remember the life of former Rainbow Warrior football great, Vince Manuwai.
Manuwai was found dead in a Kakaako apartment last Sunday, sending shockwaves throughout the local sports community and across the country.
Harold Tanaka, Farrington High School’s athletic director and Manuwai’s former coach at Farrington, said that Manuwai’s legacy will live on both for his impact on and off the field.
“What a role model he was for our kids from Kalihi to see,” Tanaka said. “He was the first for them to look at and say ‘one of our own did it the right way’ and look what happens."
Former classmates and family members spoke throughout the ceremony alongside the Manuwai family. His uncle, Billy Manuwai, recalls his nephew’s antics off the field - a direct contrast from his hard-nosed demeanor playing football.
“He was more funny than anything,” Manuwai said. “He was the life of the party; he was always cracking jokes, everybody is going to miss him.”
The former Farrington star went onto have an All-American career at the University of Hawaii before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft.
He played eight seasons in the NFL.
Funeral services for Manuwai have not been announced as of Sunday night.
Additional details surrounding his death remain unclear, but police do not suspect foul play.