WELLINGTON (REUTERS) -Rugby legend Jonah Lomu died unexpectedly on Wednesday (Nov 18), aged 40.
He collapsed and died at his Auckland home early on Wednesday morning after returning from Dubai on Tuesday, where he had been holidaying after being at the Rugby World Cup in Britain. Paramedics were called but he was unable to be resuscitated.
A flood of tributes have poured in paying homage to the former New Zealand rugby international.
John Key, New Zealand Prime Minister
Deeply saddened to hear of Jonah Lomu's unexpected passing this morning. The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.
Steve Tew, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive
"We're all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah. We're lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah's family. Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world."
Dan Carter, New Zealand flyhalf
I still can't believe the sad news. Love & thoughts go out to Jonahs family #RIPJonah
Jonny Wilkinson, former England flyhalf
I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened
Thierry Dusautoir, France captain
Rip Jonah...You inspired a generation of rugby players around the world. Thank you for so much !
Sean Fitzpatrick, former All Blacks captain
Our thoughts are with the @JONAHTALILOMU family tonight. A very special person. @AllBlacks
Keith Mackenzie, Chief Executive Kidney Kids NZ
The news of Jonah's passing has been a shock to all at Kidney Kids NZ and our thoughts go out to his wife Nadine and their two young boys. Jonah has been the organisation's patron for many years and he was always willing to help our "kids" and assist Kidney Kids NZ in its efforts to provide support to many children suffering from kidney disease and their families throughout the country. We will miss Jonah's friendship and warmth and his ability to relate to all people at all levels. A giant of a man - a great loss to us all.
Tonga Sports Minister Fe'ao Vakata
People here in Tonga have named their children after Jonah Lomu and everybody has been saying they are related to Jonah Lomu. That's how much we are proud and appreciated what he had given Tonga and New Zealand and world rugby.
Sonny Bill Williams, dual code New Zealand rugby international
Shocked, thoughts are with the Lomu family right now
Maria Tutaia, New Zealand netball international
There will never be anything or anyone quite like you @JONAHTALILOMU . So saddened by the news. Thoughts & prayers to the Lomu family.