Rugby legend Jonah Lomu dies at the age of 40

Rugby legend Jonah Lomu dies at the age of 40
New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40. He scored 37 tries in 63 matches for his nation during his spell as a player between 1994 and 1996. He had been diagnosed with a rare kidney issue back in 1996, underwent a kidney transplant in 2004 and another attempted transplant in 2011. His condition forced him to end an illustrious career prematurely in 2004, when he had the transplant.

"Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world," said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew. "We're lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah's family." John Mayhew, a spokesman for the family, said that the death was "totally unexpected". Lomu had returned to New Zealand on Tuesday, after attending the Rugby World Cup in the UK. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: "The thoughts of the entire country are with his family."

New Zealand Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman said Lomu "was the first global rugby superstar and a huge inspiration to Polynesian men and actually in later years with his battles against kidney disease, very inspirational to people suffering from chronic diseases as well." Lomu had two sons and a wife, Nadene. He has never won the Rugby World Cup but is regarded my many as the best rugby player ever. He is the joint top try-scorer in World Cup history, alongside South Africa's Bryan Habana, with 15 tries in 11 games.

A few words from important people in the world of Rugby:

Former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick: "Our thoughts are with the Jonah Lomu family tonight. A very special person."

All Blacks World Cup winner Dan Carter: "I still can't believe the sad news. Love and thoughts go out to Jonah's family."

Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies: "Can't believe that Jonah Lomu has passed away. Was with him and his wife and family for an evening last month. So sad, life is so cruel. RIP Jonah you were a true legend and a gentleman. You changed the game of rugby and will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with your family."

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