Jonah Lomu the youngest #AllBlack ever.

Jonah Tali Lomu is the first great “individual brand” in professional rugby.

News of his passing today is tragic.

This is the kind of news that tells me to live life to the fullest, and never take anything for granted.

In another life I’m a hip-hop DJ. I’ve scratched, mixed and battled as a turntablist.  It is a passion which has been all consuming. An obsession almost.

Through this passion I had the privilege to meet New Zealand’s great  All Black sporting legend Jonah Lomu, some 15 years ago now just after the turn of the millennium.

A true Kiwi bloke and a bro through and through.  I remember vividly catching Jonah at Auckland’s old Safari Lounge on Ponsonby Road.

His modesty and humour were evident when I joked with him about his DJ’ing that night.  “I know nothing about beat mixing or scratching bro” he said to me.

His enjoyment was evident though in the big smiles he shared as the music played.

My friend Joey and I shared a great evening of laughter with the gentle giant of rugby.

He even laughed when I jested with him I could take him on the rugby field, telling me:  “You’re probably right bro.”

I am a football fanatic through and through having played representative soccer up until my late teens.

However like most Kiwi blokes I have played my share of rugby, our nation’s national obsession.

And I am an All Black fan without a doubt, sharing in the highs and lows of our country’s successes and losses on the rugby field both at home and while abroad.

It’s the stuff that binds us together, a part of our common identity.

The stand out thing about Jonah Lomu is his enduring spirit in the face of adversity.

Jonah Lomu persevered against the odds and won, despite losing his life today.

The stuff that stands out for me is his gratitude.

Despite battling an illness that drew on his strength he continued to fight for life and to remember his family first, to marvel in the ordinary things that made up life as a father to two young sons.

Our nation is blessed to have had an ambassador that took pride in his role as a sports leader.

He inspired and encouraged us to dream big.

Thank you for your love of life.

It’s a sad day for New Zealanders and your many fans.

RIP Jonah Lomu.  Gone, but NEVER forgotten.

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