NEW YORK, NY – We had just finished shooting an interview with the Director of Rugby Operations for the Professional Rugby Organization, PRO Rugby in the USA. We had our little post shoot lunch together and everyone went their separate ways. It wasn’t until I got home that I heard that the legendary Jonah Lomu had passed away as a result of a heart attack. Absolutely gutted, it dawned on me that we had to properly acknowledge the passing of this great man. Words cannot describe his impact on the game, on fans such as myself and those that meet and knew him. However we must try.
One of the thoughts that come to mind is that “only the good die young.” A classic Billy Joel song take from an old saying. It seems that some of the most vile characters in history live a long time but those with kind souls disappear much too soon. Secondly, Jonah was the first and perhaps only transcendent figure this game has known. You had kids from, Wales to the Cook Islands to failed Ghanaian soccer player in college pick up the ball and wish they could be him. He even attracted the attention of the NFL such was his combination of power and pace. The Queen of England sent a letter to the New Zealand Prime Minister to be delivered to the Lomu family so she could extend her condolences at the loss of the man.
My mom has a saying that the good a man does often is buried with him while the evil he does lives on forever. I don’t believe that will the case for Jonah. My recently departed dad always said that the proof of living a good life is that when you are gone and buried that people remember you as a good husband, father, co-worker, neighbor and etc. I find it hard if that is not the case for Big Jonah. Here are some of the many kind words spoken by key people in rugby about the man.
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) November 18, 2015
Shocked, thoughts are with the Lomu family right now ???? — Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) November 18, 2015
— Sean Fitzpatrick (@frontrow92) November 18, 2015
I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened
— Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) November 18, 2015
Rest easy Jonah.. You’ve been an inspiration to so many during & after your playing career.. The reason I started playing rugby! #RIPJonah
— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) November 18, 2015
Jonah Lomu was the first reason I wanted to play rugby. Inspiration and true legend. Very sad news. Thoughts with his family.
— Sam Warburton (@samwarburton_) November 18, 2015
His on field fearlessness was matched by his off field humility. So sad… https://t.co/NMa4ZSBhu5
— Bryan Habana (@BryanHabana) November 18, 2015
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) November 18, 2015
We leave you with some final words from the man himself.
Good Night, Sweet Prince. You have fought a brave fight and shown yourself to be a true warrior. Thank you for gracing us with your presence.
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And remember to stay low and keep pumping those legs!