The rugby and broader sporting community is mourning the tragic loss of Jonah Lomu who passed away on Tuesday evening (New Zealand time), surrounded by family at age 40.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said: "We're all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu. We're lost for words and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Jonah's family. Jonah was a legend of our game and loved by his many fans both here and around the world."
SANZAR's interim chief executive, Brendan Morris, added: "Not only was Jonah Lomu a legend of our game, he was one of those rare superstar players that transcended rugby. He quickly became a household name around the world with his power and skill, inspiring a generation of athletes.
"While we mourn the tragic loss of Jonah, we should also take time to remember and celebrate his wonderful career and achievements. Lomu will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest players the game has seen.
"Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the Lomu family and New Zealand Rugby as another legend is taken far too soon. Rest in peace."
Deeply saddened to hear of Jonah Lomu’s unexpected passing this morning. The thoughts of the entire country are with his family.— John Key (@johnkeypm) November 18, 2015
Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee said there was no other individual who had made an impact on world rugby quite like Jonah Lomu.
“He was an extraordinary individual who will be sorely missed by millions of fans around the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jonah’s family, especially Nadene and their children.”
Wellington Rugby chief executive Steve Rogers said the union expressed its greatest sympathy to the family of Jonah during this time.
“Jonah was an incredibly special part of rugby in our province, and will forever be remembered for his outstanding pace and skill, his strength as a player and person, and his kind and genuine nature both on and off the field.
“The combination he formed with Tana (Umaga) and Cully (Christan Cullen) back in the early 2000s is a partnership that will forever be written in Wellington Rugby folklore. It’s something rugby fans not only in Wellington, but around the world, will remember forever.”
RIP Hurricane #73. Forever a legend, forever remembered. pic.twitter.com/iZs7u3Ytei— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) November 18, 2015
In addition to representing the 'Canes, Lomu played 22 games for the Blues from 1996 to 1998, including the first two Super Rugby championships.
New Blues head coach Tana Umaga, who played alongside Lomu at the All Blacks and the Hurricanes, said the news was a huge blow.
"Right now I am deeply upset and saddened by this news," he said.
"My heartfelt thoughts are with his wife and children at this very sad time. It’s not the right time to talk about his career, but rather to offer my condolences to his family at this very sad time.”
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said: “I speak on behalf of the entire Australian Rugby community in expressing our deep sadness today after the passing of one of our game’s greatest ever players."
“There will never be another Jonah Lomu. He was rugby’s first genuine superstar and as well as being an extraordinary rugby player he was also an exceptional man who gave everything to the game and his community in Auckland.
“His long battle with health has been well documented and his legend grew even greater as he continued to inspire us all with his fight for life against a rare and crippling disease.
“The ARU wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the Lomu family, as well as the New Zealand Rugby Union and the many other people in our game who were fortunate to have known the great man.
“Jonah’s legacy will live forever in our game, and indeed all over the world.”
South African Rugby Union President Mr Oregan Hoskins added: “We woke up to the news of Jonah’s sudden passing this morning and I speak for the whole South African rugby community when I say we are deeply, deeply shocked and moved by this news,”
“Jonah was a simply unbelievable player but, as much as he was a mighty All Black, he had a special place in South African hearts because of the connection we made in 1995.
“He was a credit to his country and a world ambassador for the game, loved as much for his humility and generosity of spirit as his playing. His passing leaves a hole in all our rugby lives.
“I would like to pass on the condolences of the South African rugby community to the entire New Zealand rugby community but most particularly to Jonah’s family and closest friends.”
Tributes have been pouring in from players, coaches and fans throughout the world as rugby comes to terms with the fact it has lost one of the most inspiring players to ever play the game.
Was in mexico yesterday and people were speaking about @JONAHTALILOMU .. You made rugby what it Is today Jonah... Love to you n the family— Israel Akuhata Dagg (@izzy_dagg) November 18, 2015
Good luck breaking into Heaven's XV if you play #6 or #11. pic.twitter.com/GfCCbo8S2G— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) November 18, 2015
Rest in peace to my brother Jonah Lomu. Going to miss you bro pic.twitter.com/4owFc614FH— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) November 18, 2015
I still can't believe the sad news. Love & thoughts go out to Jonahs family #RIPJonah— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) November 18, 2015
Sad to hear about @JONAHTALILOMU passing away! He was the real gamechanger!!! Prayers for his family!! Stay blessed— Willie Britz (@williebritz8) November 18, 2015
The King! The game changer! A true gentleman of the game. RIPJonah #Superstar— Kurtley Beale (@kurtley_beale) November 18, 2015
It's a very sad day!! #RIPJonahLomu— Jerome Kaino (@jeromekaino) November 18, 2015
So sad to hear about Jonah. A genuine legend both on and off the park. Thoughts are with your family and friends. #RIPJonahLomu— Ross Taylor (@RossLTaylor) November 18, 2015
Rugby has lost a true legend. R.I.P Jonah— Bernard Foley (@bernardfoley) November 18, 2015
Rest in Peace Jonah! What a legend of the game!— Reggie Goodes (@ReggieGoodes) November 18, 2015
RIP Big brother #11— Liam Messam (@LiamMessam) November 18, 2015
For fringe followers of rugby like me, Jonah Lomu was rugby. He was the reason I watched the 1995 world cup. Very sad to hear of his death.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 18, 2015
Rest in Peace big man. A giant in every sense. pic.twitter.com/9180ccvI75— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) November 18, 2015
RIP Jonah , one of the great ever... thoughts with family#lomumagic— Jesse Kriel (@JesseKriel15) November 18, 2015
The All Blacks flag and New Zealand flag have been lowered to half-mast outside New Zealand Rugby headquarters— nzherald (@nzherald) November 18, 2015
Rip Jonah Lomu #11#legend— Ita Vaea (@Vaea_89) November 18, 2015
Not many athletes in the world who are instantly recognisable by all sports fans. Jonah Lomu was one of them. A true legend who'll be missed— Ben Daley (@bennydaley) November 18, 2015
Such sad news #JonahLomu the man who changed the game single handedly!RIP legend you'll never be forgotten.praying for his family!— Gio Aplon (@1GioAplon) November 18, 2015
Lucky enough to have met you on a handful of occasions. A true rugby icon and a legend of the game. Thanks for the memories @JONAHTALILOMU— Gareth Anscombe (@Gareth_Anscombe) November 18, 2015
Shocked, thoughts are with the Lomu family right now ❤️❤️— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) November 18, 2015
My first ever hero. Sad, sad day. #RIPjonah— Alby Mathewson (@AlbyMathewson) November 18, 2015
R.I.P Jonah #TheGreatest— Malakai Fekitoa (@MalakaiFekitoa) November 18, 2015
RIP my all time favourite player Jonah Lomu. Will never forget the most crushing handshake I ever experienced as a 15 year old— Cadeyrn Neville (@Cadeyrn) November 18, 2015
Can't believe it!! Was a hero for me growing up as an islander kid, will be missed by many!! RIP @JONAHTALILOMU— Peter Betham (@p_betham) November 18, 2015
Growing up he was everyone's favourite player. Dominated the game like no other. Thanks for the memories Jonah! #RIPJonah #11— Sam Cane (@SamCane7) November 18, 2015
The World lost an Icon!A Gentle Giant who was loved globally!Condolences to his family and friends,sad day#RIPJonah pic.twitter.com/tIGetL38D1— Breyton Paulse (@BreytonPaulse) November 18, 2015
R.I.P #JonahLomu very sad news. Condolences to the Lomu family.— RYAN TONGIA (@RyanTongia) November 18, 2015
Very saddened to hear of the loss of #JonahLomu a humble legend of our game who brought joy to so many— Dave McDuling (@davemcduling) November 18, 2015
R.I.P #11— Karmichael (@karmichaelhunt) November 18, 2015
Used to cut my hair like him when I was 9.. RIP Lomu absolute hero and legend #GameChanger#Hero— Kieron Fonotia (@FonotiaKieron) November 18, 2015
Feared by many, loved by all. #RIPJONAH— Patrick Tuipulotu (@PattyTuipulotu) November 18, 2015
So sad to hear about the loss of Jonah Lomu. My childhood idol, the man who changed rugby forever. #RIPJonah— Dan Bowden (@danbowden_) November 18, 2015
RIP Jonah Lomu, a true legend. #RIPJonah— Gilbert Rugby (@GILBERT_UNION) November 18, 2015
I can't believe that Jonah Lomu has died. I was lucky enough to meet the absolute legend. Inspiration. So sad. #RIPJonahLomu— Aled Davies MBE (@AledDavies2012) November 18, 2015