Former Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has passed away.
He was 71.
Ratu Epeli, was the son of the late Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, the first President of the Republic of Fiji (1987-1992).
He became Army Chief of Staff in 1987, retiring in 1998 with the rank of Brigadier General.
In 1999 he helped to found the Christian Democratic Party; although not personally elected, he was subsequently appointed to the Senate.
He chose not to run in the election held to restore democracy in 2001, but in his role as Chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, he had an influential political role.
Ratu Epeli was married to Adi Ateca Mara, the eldest daughter of the late Ratu Kamisese Mara.
Adi Ateca passed away in 2018 and Ratu Epeli is survived by his four children, Ratu Tuivanuavou, Adi Koila, Tuikilakila, and Ratu Gavidi.
He will be laid to rest at the chiefly village of Somosomo next week.
The funeral details are yet to be released by his family.