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New Zealand Mourns All Blacks Legend Jonah Lomu

The rugby union star has died unexpectedly at the age of 40 after suffering from kidney disease since 1995.

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Rugby Union fans are shocked after the sudden death of former New Zealand All Blacks left-winger Jonah Lomu.

Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

The 40-year-old suffered from the kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome.

He had a kidney transplant in 2004 but has been on dialysis since 2011, when his body rejected the transplant.

A destructive left-winger, Lomu played 63 Tests for New Zealand from 1994–2002. His most famous play was in the Rugby World Cup in 1995 when he smashed through the England defence.

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Lomu scored four tries in the semifinal, leading New Zealand to a 45–29 victory.

"I am hoping not to come across him again," said England captain Will Carling at the time.

"He's a freak – and the sooner he goes away the better."

Despite his health problems Lomu remained active, and had just returned from an ambassador role at the Rugby World Cup in England with his family.

Night out in Dubai with my great friend and brother thank you for looking after me ad my family.😊

Lomu spoke of his pride at being able to perform the haka in front his sons with members of the Ngati Ranana Maori Club in Covent Garden in September.

View this video on YouTube

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"I didn't think I would perform the haka again," he told Radio New Zealand.

"My two sons have never seen me do the haka before and this has brought it to life for me. It is something special for them as previously they have only seen videos of me doing it."

Lomu also spoke about wanting to see his sons grow up.

Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images

"I do want to see them grow into grown men," he said.

"Whether they play rugby or not doesn't matter. I just want them to be healthy and to grow. One thing as a dad you don't want is for them to come to any harm or anything bad to happen to them.

"The illnesses and pains I'm going through, I don't want them to experience that, no dad wants that."

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew has described him as one of the legends of the game.

NZR CEO Steve Tew: "....Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world."

"We're all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu," he said.

"We're lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah's family.

"Jonah was a legend of the game and [was] loved by his many fans both here and around the world."

New Zealand prime minister John Key also offered his condolences.

Deeply saddened to hear of Jonah Lomu’s unexpected passing this morning. The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.

There's been an outpouring of grief on social media from members of the rugby community as players remember him as a thrilling player and a great role model.

Such sad news hearing news just now of @JONAHTALILOMU. Such a gentleman and great role model for young Pasifika boys and girls. #RestIn❤️

I still can't believe the sad news. Love & thoughts go out to Jonahs family #RIPJonah

1994 I was 11years old & saw my hero play for the All Blacks..A legend of the game & someone I wanted to be. #Jonah_Lomu #Can_Be_Only_One 11

Our thoughts are with the @JONAHTALILOMU family tonight. A very special person. @AllBlacks

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at alexandra.lee@buzzfeed.com.

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