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Sen. Saole Mila, who is described by a fellow senator as a “humble person” passed away Wednesday this week in Seattle, Washington where he along with his wife were visiting family, according to a family chief and also confirmed by others relatives contacted by Samoa News yesterday. The cause of death is unknown at this time.


“The honorable Senator Saole became a very good friend to me over the last three years in the Senate,” Sen. Magalei Logovi’i told Samoa News yesterday when told about Saole’s passing. “Senator Saole is a very humble person as I have gotten to know him well.”


Magalei recalled that Saole was a strong-healthy person and they would all get together to joke and tell funny stories. He pointed out that Saole would debate issues and voice opinions on the Senate floor, but in the end he would defer the final decision to what the Senate majority decided.


Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie is off island for meetings and is expected back on island over the weekend.


The late senator is a retired Associate Judge of the High Court and he entered the Senate in 2013 representing the Saole county, which comprises the villages of Aunu’u, Alofau, Amouli, Auasi and Utumea-East.


Saole was serving his first four-year term in the Senate, and chaired the Senate Samoan Affairs Committee and was a member of other Senate standing committees.


Saole family chief, Fuiava Avaloa confirmed to Samoa News yesterday from Aunu’u that the late senator passed away in Seattle. He says the sad news about Saole’s sudden passing is difficult for the country and the village to take.


Fuiava described Saole as a very humble person and an individual with a big heart and this was evident every time the county council convened for meetings.


“Saole will be greatly missed by the county council and leaders, his village and his family,” said Fuiava in a phone interview from Aunu’u. “And I’m sure that he will also be missed by senators in the Legislature.”


Another family member, who is a village leader told Samoa News that Saole and his wife Taualaga left the territory the night of July 13th with plans to visit family and their children before returning home just in time for the Fono to reconvene next week.


Fuiava told Samoa News that the extended family and the late senator’s children have decided that Saole will be laid to rest in Seattle and funeral services will be announced at a later time.


However, he says the county council is waiting to see if this decision will change later.


Samoa News expresses our condolences to the grieving family of the late senator, who was among the senators that were adamant in the protection and preservation of the Samoan culture, its lands and titles.


Samoa News reporters Fili Sagapolutele and Ausage Fausia contributed to this report.