Credit: Shutterstock/Jonah Lomu

Looking back, my whole life seems so surreal

A sporting icon and the youngest ever player to don the All Black kit, Jonah Lomu was a marauding, all conquering rugby union player. The New Zealander made his debut in 1994 and was the first global rugby superstar, drawing crowds of adoring fans, and changing the way the game was played.

Teams would eventually have to redefine their very way of defending in order to deal with the threat he posed on the pitch. Standing at 6’5’’ and weighing 120kg – this giant was also very fast: He could sprint 100 metres in little over 10 seconds.

To English rugby fans, the defining moments of Lomu’s career were an immortal performance in the 1995 world cup semi finals. Lomu scored three times that day, including an infamous score in which he trampled over English fullback Mike Catt, leaving the defender in a confused heap in his wake.

Jonah was only 20 years old when he was was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder in 1995. His career after that point became more intermittent and the world never saw Lomu at his potential athletic peak.

Jonah was aged just 40, when he suffered a fatal heart attack brought on by his condition. His family held a private funeral while Jonah’s life was remembered by fans in rugby stadiums around the world.