Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40. The Rugby sports legend, who electrified Rugby when he burst onto the international stage at the 1995 World Cup, died unexpectedly last night from a heart attack thought to be linked to the kidney disease he battled for much of his adult life, according to CNN.
Lomu’s dream to see his young boys reach the age of 21 will not be seen after the superstar former All Black passed away overnight, aged 40. Jonah is survived by his wife Nadene, and their two sons Brayley, 6, and Dhyrelle, 5.
Lomu arrived back in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday night from the UK where he had been working at the Rugby World Cup, and had spent a few days in Dubai on the way home with his family. Jonah During his time in Britain, he talked about how he dreamed of living until his sons turned 21, stating: “There are no guarantees that will happen, but it’s my focus. My dad died young and that makes you think.”
Jonah Lomu became the sport’s first truly global superstar. Credited with increasing ticket sales whenever he played, Lomu was famous for barnstorming runs that terrorized smaller defenders and is believed to have helped usher the sport into the professional era.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 18, 2021
On Wednesday afternoon, NZ local time, his wife Nadene Lomu issued a statement describing the family’s “devastating loss.”
“It is with great sadness that I must announce my dear husband Jonah Lomu died last night,” the statement read. “As you can imagine this is a devastating loss for our family and may I ask that our privacy, especially the privacy of our two very young boys, be respected as we take them through this traumatic time,” his wife said.
Steve Tew, the NZ Rugby chief executive, confirmed Lomu passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, while his family friend and former All Blacks doctor said he had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Tew said: “We’re all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu. 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.”
Mayhew confirmed Lomu had died on Wednesday morning due to a cardiac arrest likely linked to his rare kidney condition known as Nephrotic syndrome.
“On behalf of the Lomu family, I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this morning, most probably about 8 or 9 this morning,” he said. “The family are obviously devastated, as are friends and acquaintances. The family have requested privacy at this stage, they are obviously going through a terrible time.” And some say that he put Rugby on the world map.