NEW Zealand rugby union superstar Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40 after cementing his place among the pantheon of sporting legends with one of the most incredible careers in the sport’s history.
Lomu played for New Zealand between 1994 and 2002 and scored 37 tries in 63 matches. A kidney condition, diagnosed in 1996, led to him leaving the sport and although he has been dealing with the condition a family spokesman has said that his death was “totally unexpected.”
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said, “Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world. We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Lomu will be most remembered for the 1995 and 1999 World Cups where he destroyed defences with barnstorming runs and helped the sport to win more audiences and broaden its appeal.
New Zealand World Cup winner Dan Carter said on twitter, “I still can’t believe the sad news. Love and thoughts go out to Jonah’s family.”
Lomu had recently been in the UK for the latest World Cup and tributes are continuing to come in for the legend of the game from both northern and southern hemispheres.