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The World Is Paying Tribute To Jonah Lomu Following The News Of His Death

"Pass it to Jonah."

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New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu died aged 40 as the result of a suspected heart attack on Wednesday morning, and the world is paying tribute to one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.

Lomu set a record by scoring 15 tries for his country in the Rugby World Cup.

When he was in full flight, he was almost unstoppable.

He was so dominant on the pitch that New Zealand created the catchphrase: "Remember rugby is a team game, so all 14 of you pass the ball to Jonah.”

Mark Dadswell / Getty Images

A spokesperson for his family said his death was "totally unexpected".

Lomu had a kidney condition which forced him to quit the game and seek a transplant in 2004, but his replacement kidney had stopped functioning by 2011.

Lomu had been in the UK covering the Rugby World Cup, and flew back to New Zealand just 24 hours before his death.

Just before RWC Final with the great man. Rest easy Legend. Gentle off the field, awesome & unstoppable on it

His colleagues and fellow rugby legends have been paying tribute to the great man.

I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened


New Zealand World Cup 2015 hero Dan Carter said he "would have done anything" to play on the same field as Lomu.

Would of done anything to have played a test with him. Gone way too soon my brother #ripjonah

Commentator and former England international Brian Moore said Lomu was the first rugby player to become a global sports star.

RIP Jonah Lomu. Terribly sad to die so young. The first & one of only a handful of rugby players to become a true global sports star.

Many have said Lomu transcended rugby and became a sporting icon. Liverpool FC, the football team he supported, paid tribute to him today.

Liverpool FC are saddened to hear about the passing of @AllBlacks legend, and Reds fan Jonah Lomu. YNWA.

Football legend David Beckham also paid tribute to the rugby star.

And famous stars from Australia, New Zealand's great rugby rivals, are paying tribute to Lomu.

Rest in peace to my brother Jonah Lomu. Going to miss you bro🙏

Actor Russell Crowe, born in New Zealand but a supporter of the Australian rugby team, also paid his respects.

RIP Jonah Lomu. An inspiration on the field, an inspiration off the field. A gentleman and a gentle man. Love you brother.

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, England World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward recalled an anecdote about Lomu from the England changing rooms.

Hannah Peters / Getty Images

Woodward told his team: "There’s not one of you I’d swap for any other player in the world right now."

To which one of his players replied: "Well... We’d rather have Jonah Lomu than Austin Healey."

During the World Cup in England this year, South Africa's Bryan Habana equalled Lomu's try-scoring record, and came very close to breaking it a number of times.

Things happen for a reason & very fitting that your name stays on top of the record books for 4 more years #legend👊🏽


Lomu was a natural athlete, and an image of the results from his college athletics championships has been shared thousands of times today in the wake of his passing.

Jonah's Wesley College athletics champs results 1989 #RIPJonahLomu

The New Zealand star attended Wesley College, a school he credited with turning his life around after a difficult period in his youth, and the college's current students performed an emotional and spine-tingling haka in honour of their alum.

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The sight of Lomu running down the wing with a trail of players hanging off him became a common one in '90s rugby, and clips of him in action are being shared on Twitter and Facebook.

And there are plenty of highlights from his incredible career.

View this video on YouTube

Such as this one of Lomu flattening a number of England players like a bulldozer.

What is perhaps his most famous try, against England at the 1995 World Cup, has even been re-created in Lego form.

While Lomu was famous for his ability to carry a team, he was also a great team player, as shown by this clip of a mesmerising move from the All Blacks.

As a player, Lomu had kids all over the world learning the haka, and here he is performing it, for what is thought to be the last time, in Covent Garden during the Rugby World Cup this Autumn.

Jonah Lomu performs haka for last time in Covent Garden before the World Cup. He has passed away at the age of 40.