Sidney Milton Going was a rugby genius and another rugby hero of mine.
All-Blacks and World Rugby legend Jonah Lomu has unexpectedly passed away at the age of 40.
Former All-Blacks team doctor John Mayhew confirmed the death of Lomu this morning in Auckland.
During the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the great man was suffering from a rare kidney disorder known as nephrotic syndrome, which only worsened as time went on.
The disorder forced his retirement from Test rugby in 2002, after making 63 appearances and scoring 43 tries for his country.
Lomu officially retired from rugby in 2007, but did become involved in numerous charity matches afterwards. This further revered his status as one of the all-time greats.
In 2004, Lomu underwent a kidney transplant, which halted the progress of the disorder. However, in 2011 he suffered a health-scare prior to a charity-boxing event, before his body then rejected the replacement organ.
Lomu made his first appearance for the All-Blacks in 1994 against France in Christchurch, and from that day forward he was widely regarded as one of the most destructive rugby players to ever play the game.
His breakthrough arrived at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, where he solely dominated opponents. Lomu just ran straight over the top of would-be tacklers and managed to notch seven tries in five matches.
Most notably, the image that remains in the minds of many is when Lomu trampled English fullback Mike Catt in the semi-final of the tournament, where the All-Blacks ran out 45-29 victors.
Tributes of the great man have been pouring since news broke.
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Bill English, said Lomu was an inspirational role model.
“I just watched a documentary about him in the last couple of weeks and so my most recent memory is just of a dignified man who understood his fame, and knew how to give back”, English said.
“As a rugby player of course, he was magnificent.”
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver extended his condolences on behalf of Australia, a nation that Lomu had many great battles against.
“I speak on behalf of the entire Australian Rugby community in expressing our deep sadness today after the passing of one of our game’s greatest ever players,” said Pulver.
“There will never be another Jonah Lomu. He was Rugby’s first genuine superstar and as well as being an extraordinary Rugby player he was also an exceptional man who gave everything to the game and his community in Auckland.
Additionally, New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew added that, “Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world”.
Over the past few months, he had been in the United Kingdom with his family to watch the Rugby World Cup.
“I am thankful that I have a beautiful wife and the kids are here. Nadine makes sure that my family stays together”, Lomu stated.
“She is my manager, my wife, my best friend and my boss!”.
World Rugby will not be the same without him.
Vale Jonah Lomu.
— George Gregan (@GeorgeGregan) November 18, 2015
RIP Jonah Lomu. Feared by all, LOVED by ALL. To play against and with you was a huge honour. You put Rugby on the global stage. Prayers
— Tim Horan (@TimHoran12) November 18, 2015
I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened
— Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) November 18, 2015
Was in mexico yesterday and people were speaking about @JONAHTALILOMU .. You made rugby what it Is today Jonah… Love to you n the family
— Israel Akuhata Dagg (@izzy_dagg) November 18, 2015
I still can't believe the sad news. Love & thoughts go out to Jonahs family #RIPJonah
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) November 18, 2015
RIP to a legend not only one of the greatest All Black legends but also a man who had a huge influence of rugby sevens. Part of the committee responsible for rugbys return to the Olympics. Thank you Jonah for everything you've done for New Zealand, for rugby and the world. Condolences to Jonah's family ❤️ #TrueLegend #RIPJonah