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Wednesday Nov 18, 2015

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies suddenly, aged 40

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies suddenly, aged 40

The man who changed the game as we know it, Jonah Lomu, has passed away suddenly in Auckland, aged 40. Twenty years on from making the biggest impact the game has ever seen, Lomu had just arrived back home after spending time at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Family spokesperson John Mayhew confirmed that Lomu died unexpectedly at his family home.

The former giant winger battled a rare kidney disease for decades, at times hampering his career, and eventually ending it. He later received a kidney transplant but his body rejected it. Lomu has been on dialysis for years.

“I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this morning… it was totally unexpected, Jonah and his family arrived back from the UK last night,” Mayhew told TV3 before breaking down in tears.

Lomu scored 37 tries for and set up countless more in his 63 Tests for the All Blacks. His star rose at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when he burst on to the scene and helped New Zealand to reach the historic final. His combination and size, speed and balance stunned opponents, and some of his records still stand today.

The power of his fame was such that at a time when rugby turned professional, Lomu was on hand to build the not only his own brand, but reach wider audiences for the All Blacks, garnering a huge following in the process.

“The fact is that we’ve lost a true global superstar — probably the first to our game,” said former teammate since they were teenagers, Daryl Gibson. “What he’s done the last 10 years as an ambassador and advocating our sport is fantastic.

“His legacy is two-fold. Firstly as a player he revolutionised the position. He was the first real genuine athlete that was way above what the rest of us were playing at and also what he did with ball in hand. He really put our game on the map and sent it truly global.”

Arguably the biggest star in the sport, Lomu was in the UK for the latest World Cup, doing the media circuit. In a recent interview he hinted that the family enjoyed their time there so much, they were considering moving to the UK permanently.

While on the field New Zealand rugby has achieved unbelievable highs, off it this year has been tragic, with the loss of two All Black greats in Jerry Collins (34) and now the seemingly unstoppable force, Jonah Lomu. Norm Berryman (42) also died this year.

Wife Nadene has asked for privacy at this difficult time (see below) for her and their two young sons, Brayley and Dhyreille. Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.

The tribute video below, from Sky NZ, was originally used to promote the Bledisloe Cup but has been adapted and it a perfect depiction of the great man’s rugby life. May the legend Rest in Peace.


  • drg
    12:40 PM 19/11/2015

    Massively sad news, I was introduced to rugby through 7's and that would have been about 95-97 or something and in all honesty I didn't know much about the 15 code, but I had heard the rippling echo of chat, I guess from parents about some huge All of the tallest on the pitch...biggest...fastest... Just really makes you realise the tremendous impact the guy made on the game... ...then of course somewhere along the line I played Jonah Lomu rugby (intro to dear old Bill then too!) As others have said, seeing Lomu at the world cup this year, it really didn't bring to mind any questions of his health. So it's a huge shock, although, might just be me, but there is that advert? Or clip? Or him doing the haka, they do it a couple of times, he looked a bit pale then, but who knows, makeup, bad light, or whatever. RIP Lomu and prayers for the family!

  • 10stonenumber10
    9:12 PM 18/11/2015

    Jonah Lomu was the first rugby player I ever knew by name. It is amazing to think that he is still the benchmark for all wingers, and by his own admission at only 80% of his true capabilities. The world's greatest winger, builder of New Zealand's loudest stereo, and all round good bloke. To say he is a sporting legend would be a disservice, he is far greater than that.

  • eddie-g
    3:01 PM 18/11/2015

    Completely stunned. I knew about his health issues, but I had no idea things were so precarious. No-one of my age will forget the way he exploded onto the world game, right at the time rugby went professional. The stage was set for him to transform the game, and he did just that. His legacy is alive and well, but he left us far too soon. My heart goes out to his family and friends, but I know the rugby community, especially in NZ, will rally round in support. It's the least we can do.

  • colombes
    11:50 AM 18/11/2015

    Infinite sadness After Paris tragic events, that's a f*****g damned week for my little heart of rugby, rock and bistrot lover... I will forever remember his incredible 1995 world cup, he giantly (yes, i invent words) reinvented rugby. Condolences to his friends and family

  • guy
    11:28 AM 18/11/2015

    I took up rugby in 1992, at the tender age of 18. I enjoyed every minute of rugby since then but one of my most vivid memories is watching Jonah play in '95, watching the final with my dad, never expecting NZ to lose. Thanks for spreading the joy of our sport, for giving rugby a face and for all the beautifull memories. And sincere condolences to the people that are left behind with a big hole in their lives, especially his wife and kids.

  • sheldy85
    8:43 AM 18/11/2015

    The man was the reason I took up rugby, watching him run over Mike Catt in 1995 World Cup was my first memory of rugby. The good always die young. R.I.P Jonah


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All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu dies suddenly, aged 40 | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos