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Tributes paid on social media following death of rugby great Jonah Lomu

Tributes poured in today for Jonah Lomu, following the death of the former All Blacks favourite at the age of 40.

Here is some of the most poignant reaction on social media to the news of the death of one of rugby union's greats:

"Deeply saddened to hear of Jonah Lomu's unexpected passing this morning. The thoughts of the entire country are with his family" - New Zealand prime minister John Key.

"Our thoughts are with the @JONAHTALILOMU family tonight. A very special person. @AllBlacks" - f ormer New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick.

"I still can't believe the sad news. Love & thoughts go out to Jonahs family. Would of done anything to have played a test with him. Gone way too soon my brother #ripjonah" - fly-half Dan Carter, who retired after the All Blacks' recent World Cup success.

"Big guy put everyone else first before himself! Most humble&generous superstar to walk the earth RIL BiGgUY" centre Ma'a Nonu, who also bowed out of international rugby following New Zealand's victory over Australia at Twickenham.

"Sad sad news.. The man who gave kiwis the desire to play for the All Blacks. Thank you @JONAHTALILOMU will miss you big guy! #RILTokoUso" - former New Zealand scrum-half Piri Weepu.

"Sucks waking up to sad news, a hero who made myself & P.I boys dream/believe that we can compete in the world stage. R.I.P @JONAHTALILOMU" - ex-All Blacks wing Joe Rokocoko.

"The All Black in Blue. Rugby's first global superstar... a friend we will miss always #RIPJonah #legend #alwaysablue" - one of Lomu's former clubs, Cardiff Blues.

"I am so, so devastated to hear of the passing away of @JONAHTALILOMU The greatest superstar and just a fabulous human being. Deeply saddened" - former England international Jonny Wilkinson.

"RIP Jonah Lomu. Terribly sad to die so young. The first & one of only a handful of rugby players to become a true global sports star" - former England hooker and pundit Brian Moore.

"So sad to hear that Jonah Lomu has died. Rugby's first global star, what a player and more important what a good guy #verysad" - ex-England captain Will Carling.

"#RIPJonah I will never forget that semi final in 1995. Watching one man change a game into a Global Sport in 80 minutes" - former England centre Will Greenwood.

"Can't believe the news that #JonahLomu has died. Such a sad day. He single handedly changed the game of rugby. Rugby's 1st global super star" - ex-England captain Lewis Moody.

"THE greatest rugby player who globalised our game and inspired millions. I'll proudly say to my kids I knew and admired him. #JonahLomu" - former England scrum-half Matt Dawson.

"RIP Jonah Lomu an absolute legend and an inspiration for millions of rugby players across the world" - current England international Brad Barritt.

"Really shocked to wake up and hear that the biggest and best rugby legend of all time @JONAHTALILOMU has passed away. RIP the big guy" - England forward James Haskell.

"#RIP Jonah Lomu such sad news.huge heart&warmest smile ever.Saw him during RWC&had the warmest welcome.proud to have called him a friend" - former England international Phil Greening.

"RIP Jonah Lomu - devastating news! True legend of the game" - Sale's England international Danny Cipriani.

"RIP Jonah Lomu. An honour to even hang on to his boot laces trying to tackle him. I don't think anyone has or will ever change the game of Rugby like he did. True legend of the game" - England scrum-half Danny Care.

"Can't believe that Jonah Lomu has passed away. Was with him and his wife and family for an evening last month. So sad, life is so cruel. RIP Jonah you were a true legend and a gentleman. You changed the game of rugby and will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with your family" - former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies.

"RIP the great @JONAHTALILOMU. First a mate and a great human family man and not a bad rugby player. Still in shock" - ex-Wallabies wing David Campese.

"His on field fearlessness was matched by his off field humility. So sad to wake to the news of @JONAHTALILOMU's passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. It was a privilege to have met you, to have been inspired by you and to watch you make the biggest impact we have ever seen on the game we love so dearly #GameChanger #GlobalSuperstar #RIPJonahLomu" - South Africa wing Bryan Habana, who shares the record for most World Cup tries with Lomu.

"Really awful news to wake up to this morning. Jonah was rugby's first real superstar. Thoughts are with his family" - former Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll.

"Jonah Lomu was the first reason I wanted to play rugby. Inspiration and true legend. Very sad news. Thoughts with his family" - Wales captain Sam Warburton.

"Such sad news. I Remember most schoolyard conversations were 'imagine having to tackle JonahLomu 1 vs 1! The man changed our sport. RIP GOAT" - Wales centre Jamie Roberts.

"Devastated the greatest ever has passed away! The worlds in mourning for such an amazing talent yet genuine & humble human. R.I.P Jonah Lomu" - Australia international James O'Connor.

"#RIPJonahLomu The greatest player to play the game!!! Prayers & condolences to the Lomu family. #MyHero #Legend" - South Africa wing JP Pietersen.

"RIP Jonah Lomu. One man who inspired a generation of rugby players and an automatic selection in heavens first XV. #11 #RIPJonah" - Australia forward Dean Mumm.

"Such sad news to wake up to. A childhood hero. There will never be another Jonah #RIP" - France full-back Scott Spedding.

"Rest easy Jonah.. You've been an inspiration to so many during & after your playing career.. The reason I started playing rugby! #RIPJonah" - Australia fly-half Quade Cooper.

"Jonah Lomu was a legend, blazed a trail, took the sport into a different era with his global recognition. Talent and humility in abundance" - ex-Scotland international Kenny Logan.

"So sad to see Jonah Lomu has passed away. He changed the sport of Rugby Union. Will always remember the 95 World Cup he was something else" - former Wales prop Adam Jones.

"Tragic news. We have lost one of the best ever to play our game. A great player and a great man. Gone too soon. RIP Jonah Lomu" - Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Very sad news this. #RIPJonahLomu. A great player but more importantly a great man. Deepest Sympathy to his family" - Welsh referee Nigel Owens.

"So sad to hear about Jonah. A genuine legend both on and off the park. Thoughts are with your family and friends. #RIPJonahLomu" - New Zealand cricketer Ross Taylor.

"So sad to hear the news about this amazing giant of a man... A sporting hero and one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.. A credit to his country, his family and to the sport that he passionately played... Jonah you will be missed..." - former England footballer David Beckham.


From Belfast Telegraph