Iconic former All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu has tragically passed away at the age of just 40. Lomu had been suffering from serious health problems ever since he retired from rugby union in 2002 due to an incredibly rare kidney disease.
Lomu has been commended for the way he reshaped rugby union. The young Lomu burst onto the international scene in 1994, aged just 19 and will be forever remembered for his imperishable strength and rapid pace. Lomu has been considered to be one of New Zealand’s greatest rugby union talents ever and few would argue that is the case. How Lomu, standing at 6 foot 5 inches and weighing in at an incredible 19 stone was able to run the 100 metre sprint in 10.8 seconds seemed outrageous and most definitely out of this world.
It would be the 1995 World Cup in South Africa where Lomu would announce himself as a legitimate contender for the biggest beast of rugby. At 20 years of age Lomu scored the joint most tries in the tournament, bagging himself seven tries. The best of them coming in a dominant victory over England in the semi-final.
Lomu boosted the profile of rugby union, aiding with the sport turning professional. This revolutionised the sport and allowed it to grow to a huge extent. More and more people began tuning into rugby union and noticing the skills involved and possessed by such talent as Lomu. He became a role model to most young children.
On the pitch Lomu was a warrior but off it he was such a modest and a shy man who was eternally humble for the skills that he possessed and the position he was in. In 1995 before
the World Cup was even over Lomu was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome and continued to battle through the illness never wanting to call time on his career.
Lomu will never be forgotten and will always be seen as one of the men to revolutionise the sport he was so passionate about. A phenomenal talent, with an equally phenomenal attitude. The world is definitely missing a star today. As people around the world, both in and out of rugby offer their tributes to this supreme athlete we remember Jonah Lomu.