The World of sport and Rugby in particular woke up to sad news this Wednesday morning of the passing on of one of the greatest ever sporting and rugby players in former All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu at the age of 40.
Lomu died unexpectedly in Auckland early Wednesday and his death has since shocked the world of sport with many sending words of encouragement and condolences. John Mayhew, the former All Blacks doctor, confirmed the news on Wednesday morning.
“On behalf of the Lomu family, I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this morning, most probably about eight or nine this morning,” Mayhew said.
Lomu had suffered from health problems since his retirement from playing in 2002 due to a rare kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2004 and had been on dialysis treatment for the past 10 years.
He had sixty-three caps as an All Black after debuting in 1994. He is generally regarded as the first true global superstar of rugby union because of the influence he had on the sport.He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007 and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011.
Lomu burst onto the international rugby scene during the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament and was widely acknowledged to be the top player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa even though New Zealand lost the final to the host Springboks and became a big attraction in rugby matches. He was one of the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorers with 15 tries, a record he shares with Bryan Habana of South Africa—despite never winning a World Cup.
His try against England in the 1995 World cup is generally considered the greatest try ever and had actually just recently travelled to the UK for the Rugby World Cup, during which he worked with tournament sponsors.