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All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu has died

International Sports

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu is no more All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu is no more New Zealand media reported that former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew confirmed that Lomu had died unexpectedly on Wednesday.


Lomu has had a long running health battle with kidney problems and had a life saving kidney transplant seven years ago.

Lomu, however, appeared in public on Tuesday, photographed arriving at Auckland airport by sports journalist Craig Norenbergs.

The big winger played 63 Tests for New Zealand.

Former Australian rival and Lomu’s friend Tim Horan told Fox Sports News: “he was such a gentle and kind person.

“It’s such a shock and I spent time with him at the World Cup a couple of weeks ago.

“He added so much to the game of rugby. If anyone was asked about rugby and didn’t know a lot about it, they knew one person and that was Jonah Lomu.”

George Gregan said he also saw Lomu at the World Cup. “He looked the best I’d seen him in many years. He had that sparkle in his eye,” Gregan said.

The world rugby community was in shock at the news.

Lomu revolutionised rugby as a blockbusting winger — as big as most forwards yet able to run like the wind.

Of Tongan heritage, Lomu attended Auckland’s Wesley College and shot to prominence aged 19 when he became the youngest All Blacks Test player when he debuted against France in 1994.

His finest moments came at Rugby World Cups and in 1995 he took the game by storm when he scored seven tries in five games, including four tries in the demolition of England — memorably steamrollering England fullback Mike Catt.

He scored 37 tries for New Zealand and shares the World Cup try-scoring record with Bryan Habana with 15.
Lomu’s steamrollering try-scoring feats attracted interest from the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys but he remained loyal to his beloved All Blacks.

His kidney issues — suffering a rare disorder known as nephrotic syndrome — meant he was forced to cut short his rugby career but he bravely attempted several comebacks.

He received regular dialysis treatment to help deal with his kidney issues.

While intimidating on the field, Lomu was beloved as a gentle giant off it.

He worked at the 2015 World Cup as a rugby ambassador and spoke of his desire simply to see his children reach their 21st birthdays.

In an August, 2015 interview with the Daily Mail, Lomu said: “My goal is to make it to the boys’ 21sts.

“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.”

In a 2005 interview Lomu confronted his mortality.

“Eight hours on dialysis. Or kick the bucket? That was no option,” Lomu said. “You have two choices in life when your kidneys fail. You either do dialysis or you die. And dying is not in my vocabulary.

“The darkest moment was when I fell over for the first time. I had no clue why it happened. By the time of the 2003 World Cup, I needed my wife to help me walk. I would take three steps and fall over, or I could walk for 10 minutes and then just fall over out of the blue. It just gave out when it wanted. I was basically numb from the knees down. My walk wasn’t a walk, it was more of a shuffle.”

 

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