Super League club Widnes have made a touching tribute to Kato Ottio ahead of his funeral in Papua New Guinea on Friday.
Ottio, who was due to travel to England on Thursday to begin his contract with the Vikings, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time after collapsing while running with his former PNG Hunters teammates in Port Moresby.
Pacific International Hospital, where the 23-year-old was treated, has reportedly recommended a post-mortem to confirm the cause of death was severe heatstroke.
On Thursday evening Widnes published a tribute that will be read at Ottio's funeral service.
"Kato was a young, strong and fearless player, who had limitless potential," said chief executive James Rule.
"He was someone who we believed could make a real difference to our team and become a star in the Super League.
"It was truly an exciting moment when we were able to secure his services for this season.
"Whilst Kato was yet to put on our famous shirt, he was, and will forever be, a Viking."
Fellow new signing Wellington Albert was set to travel to Widnes and share a house with his Papua New Guinea teammate.
Albert remains in Port Moresby as he comes to terms with the tragedy.
"In Wellington Albert, Papua New Guinea will continue to have a place in our future too," added Rule.
"Our players, supporters and coaching team are all looking forward to inviting him into our Vikings family, and will be doing everything possible to help him settle in our community.
"Widnes is a small, friendly and close town, and it will become a great home to him.
"Widnes and Port Moresby are 9,000 miles apart, but together at this time.
"Kato's memory will live on and our communities will forever be linked."
A minute's silence will be held before the club's pre-season friendly against Whitehaven on Friday.