All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies at 40
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu has died unexpectedly at home in Auckland, at the age of 40, leaving his wife Nadene and sons Brayley, 6, and Dhyreille, 5.
A former All Blacks doctor confirmed the news on Wednesday (Nov 18) morning, reported the Guardian.
“On behalf of the Lomu family, I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this morning, most probably about 8 or 9. The family are obviously devastated, as are friends and acquaintances."
The Kiwi was recently in the UK for the Rugby World Cup 2015, working with tournament sponsors.
Lomu and his family had reportedly just arrived back from a family holiday in Dubai the night before when he suddenly died the next morning.
He had been actively updating his twitter a few days before his death, updating on his family trip to Dubai and even posting condolences for the recent Paris attacks.
Aussie sports journalist Craig Norenbergs had posted what may be the last time Lomu was see in public on Twitter on Tuesday (Nov 17) afternoon with the caption "Man loves to shop!” when he arrived at Auckland airport.
For the past 20 years,Lomu had been battling a rare kidney disease while still actively playing rugby. He underwent a kidney transplant in 2004 and had been on dialysis treatment ever since.
In 2011, his new kidney failed him and he had been desperately hoping for the chance of a second transplant.
Before his sudden demise, Lomu said that his motivation to overcome his disease were his sons.
In an interview he did with the DailyMail recently in August, Lomu said that his goal was to see his son make it to their 21st birthdays.
"There are no guarantees that will happen, but it’s my focus. It’s a milestone that every parent wants to get to. My dad died young and that makes you think. I want my boys to be healthy and if they get to 21, they should be fit and healthy and live a normal life."
Regarded by the Guardian as one of the greatest rugby players of all time, Lomu dominated the rugby world with his size and speed, as he towered at 1.96m and weighing 120kg, uncommon in his time.
The rugby player was best known for his jaw-dropping play during the 1995 World Cup semi-final.
Lomu bulldozed his way through the opposing team and even running over the top of England fullback Mike Catt, scoring four tries in the 45-29 victory against England.
His performance shocked the 51,000 strong spectators in the stands and even reduced commentators to gasps during the match, establishing himself as the first true superstar of rugby union and inspiring many of today's athletes.
News of his sudden death brought grief and sadness as the world, including the media and well-known rugby players, paid tribute to the legend.
The rugby star had been featured in several commercials in his time, most recently in Heinekken's and Mastercard's promos for the Rugby World Cup.
Sources: The Guardian, The DailyMail