Jonah Lomu cause of death: New Zealand legend died of a heart attack, All Blacks team doctor confirms

The great passed away at his home in Auckland aged 40

James Orr
Wednesday 18 November 2015 14:05
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Jonah Lomu powers to a try against England at the 1995 Rugby World Cup
Jonah Lomu powers to a try against England at the 1995 Rugby World Cup

Former New Zealand rugby union international Jonah Lomu has died at the age of 40 from a heart attack.

The wing, who played 63 Test matches for the All Blacks, had suffered from health problems since his retirement from the game in 2002 due to a rare kidney disease.

All Blacks team doctor John Mayhew confirmed that Lomu died at his home in Auckland.

Mayhew told the New Zealand Herald that Lomu's well-known kidney issues would inevitably have had something to do with his heart stopping.

"The final mechanism was something caused the heart to go into cardiac arrest, most probably a cardiac or pulmonary event," he said.

"Cardiac arrest is the final pathway of the heart shutting down. That's all there is really."

New Zealand Rugby announced Lomu's death on Wednesday and chief executive Steve Tew said: "We're all shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden death of Jonah.

"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."

Jonah Lomu Tribute

Auckland-born Lomu burst onto the global stage at the 1995 World Cup as a 19-year-old and is best remembered for scoring seven tries in four matches in that tournament, including four in the semi-final against England in Cape Town.

He played for several domestic teams in his homeland, Auckland Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes, North Harbour, Counties Manukau and Wellington - and also had a stint in Wales with Cardiff Blues, for whom he played 10 matches.

He retired from the game in 2007, the year he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. He also joined the IRB Hall of Fame four years later.

Lomu is survived by his wife Nadene and two sons.

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