New Zealand rugby legend Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40. The World Cup winner passed away suddenly in Auckland on Wednesday.
Former All Black team doctor John Mayhew confirmed to TV3 and added that the winger's death was unexpected.
"On behalf of the Lomu family, I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this morning, most probably about 8 or 9 this morning," Mayhew said.
"The family are obviously devastated, as are friends and acquaintances.
"The family have requested privacy at this stage, they are obviously going through a terrible time.
"It was totally unexpected. Jonah and his family arrived back from the United Kingdom last night and he suddenly died this morning."
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew paid tribute to Lomu, who scored 37 tries in 63 Tests for New Zealand.
“We’re all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu,” said Tew.
“Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world. We’re lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah’s family.”
Lomu retired from the game in 2002 after being diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome. He has been on dialysis treatment for the past 10 years.
The rampaging winger burst onto the scene at the 1995 World Cup in which his barnstorming runs – most notably when he ran straight over England's Mike Catt – made him an instant legend.
Lomu is survived by his wife Nadene and their young sons Brayley and Dhyreille.