The head of the Rebels motorcycle club is in limbo over his Australian visa as he grapples with the death of a fellow senior member.

Rebels motorcycle club leader Alex Vella has suffered a double blow with the cancellation of his Australian visa and loss of a close mate and fellow senior club member.

The Rebels national president had planned to return from a visit to his native Malta when he discovered the federal government had cancelled his visa.

It was cancelled on character grounds last Friday, the Immigration Department says.

Mr Vella, 60, is understood to be in Malta figuring out his next move.

With the high profile leader gone, the Rebels club have taken another hit with the death of the club’s Sergeant at Arms, Simon Rasic.

Mr Rasic, son of former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic who guided the national team to the 1974 World Cup, died on Sunday night.

Friend and Rebels member “Little Mick” Kosenko said Mr Rasic, who had been a club member for more than 20 years, died suddenly.

“It was very unexpected,” the United Motorcycle Council Queensland spokesman told AAP on Tuesday.

“He was a very fit and healthy person. It’s a great loss.”

Mr Kosenko said Mr Rasic, a father of four, died following complications from a recent operation.

He said Mr Vella had already planned to cut his trip short to attend his sister-in-law’s funeral on Tuesday prior to Mr Rasic’s death.

Mr Vella has struggled with his Australian visa since he was convicted in 1995 of possessing a trafficable quantity of cannabis.

Supporters have leapt to Mr Vella’s defence, painting the bikie boss as a churchgoing, motorcycle enthusiast.

“This man actually goes to church every week and is always willing to lend a helping hand, unlike the hypocrites that sit in government,” Motorcycle Clubs Australia posted on Facebook.

“What has he done to deserve what they have been doing to him for so many years?

“Everyone has a hobby in life and his is riding motorcycles.”

Speaking about the visa cancellation, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said it was his duty to respond to the work of state and federal law enforcement agencies.