NEWÂ Zealand rugby great, Jonah Lomu, died on Tuesday at the age of 40, according to multiple reports.
Lomu played for the country from 1994 to 2002, but was forced to step away from the game when he was diagnosed with a serious kidney condition, BBC reports. He received a transplant in 2004, but the kidney stopped working 7 years later in 2011.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world,” Steve Tew, the New England Rugby chief executive told BBC in a statement. “We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Lomu’s first match with the team was in 1994 against France. He also reportedly played for various teams in his native New Zealand, as well as making appears for Cardiff Blues in Wales in 2005 and 2006 before retiring.
Multiple members of the rugby community expressed their sadness and condolences in statements and on twitter; including former team captain Sean Fitzpatrick and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
Soccer star David Beckham also took to social media to share a tribute to Lomu.
“So sad to hear the news about this amazing giant of a manâ€¦A sporting hero and one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet,” Beckham captioned a photo of Lomu. “A credit to his country his family and to the sport that passionately playedâ€¦Jonah you will be missed.” – www.people.com