New Zealand, Tonga and the rugby world in general is in shock following the death of All Black great Jonah Lomu at the age of 40.

Former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew confirmed on Wednesday that Lomu, survived by wife Nadene and young boys Brayley, 6, and Dhyreille, 5, died unexpectedly, although he has a long history of health issues.

Nadene Lomu said: “It is with great sadness that I must announce my dear husband Jonah Lomu died last night,” Ms Lomu said.

“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.”

Lomu has had a long running battle with kidney problems and had a life saving kidney transplant seven years ago.

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Lomu, however, appeared in public on Tuesday, photographed arriving at Auckland airport by sports journalist Craig Norenbergs.

The huge winger – labbled rugby’s first professional superstar – played 63 Tests for New Zealand.

Former Australian rival and Lomu’s friend Tim Horan told Fox Sports News: “he was such a gentle and kind person.

“It’s such a shock and I spent time with him at the World Cup a couple of weeks ago.

“He added so much to the game of rugby. If anyone was asked about rugby and didn’t know a lot about it, they knew one person and that was Jonah Lomu.”

George Gregan said he also saw Lomu at the World Cup. “He looked the best I’d seen him in many years. He had that sparkle and look of life in his face,” Gregan said.

The world has joined in with sadness & tributes for the sporting star…

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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