The South African Rugby Union has expressed its sadness at the passing of legendary All Black wing Jonah Lomu, who passed away in Auckland on Wednesday, November 18 (2015). He was 40.
Jonah Lomu was the star of the 1995 Rugby World Cup tournament, held in South Africa, and went on to become arguably the sport’s first global superstar.
He returned to South Africa earlier this year for the making of a documentary during which he was reunited with former Springbok opponents as well as being a guest at the SARU Player of the Year Awards.
“We woke up to the news of Jonah’s sudden passing this morning and I speak for the whole South African rugby community when I say we are deeply, deeply shocked and moved by this news,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“Jonah was a simply unbelievable player but, as much as he was a mighty All Black, he had a special place in South African hearts because of the connection we made in 1995.
“He was a credit to his country and a world ambassador for the game, loved as much for his humility and generosity of spirit as his playing. His passing leaves a hole in all our rugby lives.
“I would like to pass on the condolences of the South African rugby community to the entire New Zealand rugby community but most particularly to Jonah’s family and closest friends.”
SANZAR, meanwhile, also paid tribute to Lomu following the sudden and devastating news of his passing.
Interim Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Morris, said: “Not only was Jonah Lomu a legend of our game, he was one of those rare superstar players that transcended rugby. He quickly became a household name around the world with his power and skill, inspiring a generation of athletes.
“While we mourn the tragic loss of Jonah, we should also take time to remember and celebrate his wonderful career and achievements. Lomu will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest players the game has seen.
“Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the Lomu family and New Zealand Rugby as another legend is taken far too soon. Rest in peace.”