Trust fund created to help sons of late All Blacks great Jonah Lomu
A trust fund has been set up to support Jonah Lomu's children after it was revealed he had almost no savings when he died.
The New Zealand Rugby Players Association has begun the fund to help Lomu's two young sons following the All Black great's death at the age of 40 last month.
NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol said Lomu's generosity in helping out others had left him with virtually no money at the time of his death.
Lomu, who suffered from a rare kidney disease, was survived by his wife Nadene and their children Brayley and Dhyreille.
Nichol said on www.nzrpa.co.nz: "With the cooperation of those assisting Jonah's immediate family and using our own professional advisers we have a reasonable picture of the family's ongoing financial situation following Jonah's passing.
"While the probate of the estate will take some time, we know enough to realise that the family will not be able to rely on any financial proceeds or ongoing financial benefit.
"It appears that because of Jonah's well-known generosity, he had taken on obligations, financial and otherwise, to support others at the expense of himself, Nadene and the children.
"It is also apparent that his 20-year illness and long dialysis sessions, multiple times a week affected him far more than people realised, including his ability to work and earn the type of money people probably assumed he was capable of earning.
"He was a humble and private person who chose not to seek help or be a burden on others in sharing his immediate challenges.
"Despite his debilitating illness he was unwaveringly optimistic and clearly had faith he would be able to continue working to meet these obligations and to provide for his family.
"Due to his untimely death, we all know this is sadly not to be, and Jonah is now unable to provide for his boys - for their development, welfare and education."
Lomu's sudden death on November 18 prompted an outpouring of tributes for a man widely described as the sport's global superstar.
Nichol added: " We all know how important and special Jonah's children, Brayley and Dhyreille, were to him. In supporting them we could not imagine a better way of honouring Jonah's fantastic legacy.
"We believe that once people and organisations throughout and beyond the rugby world understand the uncertain future now facing the boys, many will join with us in wanting to help the big man in what is a time of real need, and ensure a positive future for his two boys.
"Jonah's immediate family are grieving and finding his loss very difficult to deal with. They have not asked for this assistance. We are hopeful that with a positive response and messages of support they will take comfort and confidence in how much Jonah and his deeds meant to people and how much they want to help.
"For this reason, and with the support of Jonah's closest friends and rugby colleagues, we have chosen to settle an independent trust with the sole purpose of providing for the welfare of Dhyreille and Brayley, and the education and pastoral care they both deserve and that he would have desired so much for them."
The NZRPA said the fund would be managed by a team of "highly skilled professional individuals" unrelated to the Lomu family and that all of the funds raised would go to benefit his sons.