The global sporting community is mourning the passing of former New Zealand rugby union star player Jonah Lomu, dubbed as rugby's first global superstar. The 40-year-old Lomu succumbed to kidney problems.
Lomu was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition, Nephrotic Syndrome, in 1995 which ended his impressive rugby career at a young age of 25. He scored 37 tries in 63 Tests for the All Blacks, CNN reported. Lomu underwent a kidney transplant in 2004, the report added.
Lomu's wife, Mammi Nadene, confirmed her husband's passing via Facebook. Nadene writes, "It is with the saddest times, while my heart aches I share with you all a vision which Jonah and I (Mammi Nadene Lomu) had set out to do together, through your support and most of all in support of our two sons, please help me and our sons bring Daddy Jonah Lomu's dreams and visions to life. I promise my dear husband, all that we said we were going to do together, I will do everything and more...you blessed the world with your presence and now the world will celebrate the great man you were and will always be.. THIS ONES FOR YOU JONAH #TheJonahLomuFamily All my love blows up into heaven straight at you Jonah xxx xx (NBD-RX) https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/jonahlomulegacy#"
Past and present All Blacks members paid their tribute to Lomu on social media. All Blacks changed its Facebook profile picture with the photo of Lomu with the letters "RIP" written on it. It also uploaded a video of Lomu's 15 unforgettable Rugby World Cup tries.
The National Rugby League or NRL, described Lomu as "inspirational."
Even former England soccer captain and superstar David Beckham took to social media to pay his respect. He said on his Instagram account, "So sad to hear the news about this amazing giant of a man... A sporting hero and one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.. A credit to his country, his family and to the sport that he passionately played... Jonah you will be missed..."
The messages of support and prayers to the family of Lomu also came pouring from all over the world.
One football fan, Shailendra Nair, posted this message via Fiji Rugby Sevens Fan Facebook page, "Former National 15's rep, Apisai Naevo admits the death of rugby legend, Jonah Lomu is a huge loss for the world of rugby. Naevo played alongside Lomu for the Counties Manukau club in New Zealand for six years, beginning in 1995 before they both joined the Waikato Chiefs in 2001. "The towering lock forward could only reminisce about his times together with Lomu, following his passing yesterday in Auckland.
"'Yesterday I was in the farm and my phone was off so I didn't hear any news. When I reached the village than one of my cousin was telling me that did you hear about the bad news? About Jonah? I said no. They said he passed away yesterday morning. It was really sad.'
"Lomu, was widely recognized as among the five greatest players of all time in the sport and was heavily involved in promotional work during the recent Rugby World Cup."
According to CNN, Lomu enjoys the top try scorer record with South Africa wing Bryan Habana, scoring 15 tries in 11 matches, despite not winning the World Cup. Lomu's exceptional performance in the 1995 World Cup semifinal that resulted in a four-try demolition of England is perhaps his greatest achievements.