Jonah Lomu, New Zealand rugby union player, Died at 40


Jonah Tali Lomu was born on May 12, 1975, and died on November 18, 2015.

He was a New Zealand rugby union player of Tongan descent.

Jonah had sixty-three caps as an All Black after debuting in 1994.

He has been described as the first true global superstar of rugby union and as having a huge impact on the game.

Jonah was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame on 9 October 2007, and the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011.

Jonah burst onto the international rugby scene during the 1994 Hong Kong Sevens tournament and was widely acknowledged to be the top player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa even though New Zealand lost the final to the host Springboks.

At one time Jonah was considered ‘rugby union’s biggest drawcard’, swelling attendances at any match where he appeared.

Jonah was one of the Rugby World Cup all-time top try scorers with 15 tries, a record he shares with Bryan Habana of South Africa-despite never winning a World Cup.

He played for several domestic teams, in the Super Rugby, NPC and later the Magners League competitions.

These included the Auckland Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes, and Counties Manukau, Wellington, and later North Harbour and Cardiff Blues.

Jonah made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2004.

In 1996, Jonah married South African Tanya Rutter and they lived together in New Zealand for four years before divorcing.

Jonah married his second wife Fiona in a secret ceremony on Waiheke Island in August 2003, holding a party on the island a week later.

In 2008, Jonah and Fiona divorced after he had an affair with Nadene Quirk.

Jonah and Nadene later married and at the time of his death, he was living with Nadene and their children.

Jonah was a member of the Champions for Peace club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organisation.

In 2012, Jonah and Nadine became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jonah lent his name to various video games including Jonah Lomu Rugby and Rugby Challenge.

He is portrayed by Isaac Fe’aunati in Invictus, a movie chronicling Nelson Mandela’s journey with the South African rugby team in the 1995 World Cup.

Jonah passed away at age 40 in November 2015.