Former New Zealand All Black Jonah Lomu dies aged 40

Former New Zealand rugby union international Jonah Lomu has died unexpectedly. He was 40.

Spokesman for the Lomu family and ex-All Blacks doctor John Mayhew said Lomu, who had a kidney transplant in 2004, had died unexpectedly on Wednesday morning in Auckland.

"I can confirm that Jonah Lomu died this was totally unexpected, Jonah and his family arrived back from the UK last night."

We’re all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah Lomu,’ said New Zealand rugby chief executive Steve Tew.

(2000 photo) School children watch New Zealand's Jonah Lomu during the Barbarians rugby team training session in Dublin Credit: Reuters

Lomu played 63 tests on the wing for New Zealand, scoring 37 international tries and is credited by many as being one of the most destructive wingers in the history of the sport.

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As a youngster, he broke onto the international scene when he scored a sensational four tries in the 1995 Rugby World Cup semi final against England - the most he would ever score in a single Test.

Lomu was diagnosed with the serious kidney condition nephrotic syndrome in 1996 and underwent a kidney transplant in 2004. But after it failed in 2011, he became reliant on dialysis.

One of his last tweets was a simple tribute to the people of France and those caught up in last weeks terror attacks in Paris.

"My heart goes out to the people of Paris France who have lost loved ones Keep safe people .God bless you all Sois fort The lomu family."