New Zealand All Blacks great Jonah Lomu has died unexpectedly in the early hours of this morning (18 November) at the age of 40.
Lomu scored 37 tries in 63 Tests and is regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest wingers with his spectacular performances at the 1995 Rugby World Cup making him one of the sport’s most recognisable global figures.
The former Marseille and Cardiff Blues player had recently been in the United Kingdom on promotional duties supporting the Rugby World Cup.
The news was confirmed by New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew who said, “We’re all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu.
“We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world.”
Lomu had recently been in the United Kingdom to attend to promotional duties around the Rugby World Cup.
News of his death immediately resulted in outpourings of grief and condolences for his family and friends from fellow rugby players, journalists, celebrities and members of the public.
I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened
— Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) November 18, 2015
Lomu quit rugby in 2002 after 73 games for the All Blacks because of rare kidney disease, Nephrotic syndrome. He had spent more than a decade on dialysis treatment and had suffered occasional setbacks to his health.