"Jonah was a legend of our game,” said New Zealand #Rugby chief executive Steve Tew after his death was reported in New Zealand.
Jonah was very respected and loved by rugby fans all over the world. Jonah scored an incredible forty-three tries out of seventy-three international games between the years of 1994 and 2002.
According to the BBC, a member of Jonah’s family, John Mayhew, told New Zealand television his death was "totally unexpected.” Jonah had only recently arrived back in New Zealand. He had been spending time in the UK during the 2015 World Cup Rugby tournaments.
He was the youngest player wear the All Black cap when he played his debut match in 1994. In the 1995 World Cup Jonah, still considered a newcomer in the All Blacks team, shocked and stunned rugby fans when he scored seven tries in four matches.
During the 1995 games, Jonah was already suffering the side effects of a debilitating illness called nephrotic syndrome. At the time, Jonah and his doctors decided to keep his condition a secret, and unbeknown to his fans, he fought to overcome the illness as he continued to play spectacular rugby.
From the end of 1996, he still continued to play rugby but took some time out as his kidneys started to fail.
Jonah Lomu championed rugby for youngsters and was often seen with young children who had no other desire in life but to emulate the magnificent man. He was a member of the Champions for Peace, which aims to promote peace around the world through sport.
Jonah will be sorely missed by rugby fans across the world. New Zealand will be reeling from the loss. Jonah was more than just a rugby player in his homeland; he was an icon, a role model and an outstanding example to the youth of that country.
Jonah’s wife Nadene, issued a statement on Facebook, where she said that this is a devastating time for her and her family and asked that the media respect the privacy of the family, especially the privacy of their two boys.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said that Jonah would be remembered as a “New Zealander who achieved greatness but also faced great challenges.”
Today New Zealand will be mourning the loss of a great man, a great player and a great New Zealand legend. Around the world, people are in mourning. A radio call-in show in South Africa had many callers breaking down in tears as they tried to express their sadness at his loss.
A Kiwi commented on StuffNZ, that Lomu was “an absolute legend and quite rightly the first truly global superstar in rugby.”
Rest in peace Jonah.