Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
A public memorial for New Zealand rugby great Jonah Lomu, who died earlier this month at 40, is under way at the Eden Park stadium in Auckland.
The former All Black was capped 63 times by his country and considered one of rugby's first global superstars.
On Saturday New Zealand's Pacific Islander community gathered to remember Lomu, who was of Tongan descent.
He was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition in 1995, but the exact cause of death has not been established.
Doctors now believe he died as a result of a blood clot that developed on the long flight back from the UK where he had recently been watching the Rugby World Cup with his wife and two young boys, says the BBC's Jon Donnison in Auckland.
Thousands of people were expected to attend, including many from the New Zealand's Pacific Island communities. A private family burial service will be held in Auckland on Tuesday.
The memorial opened with a traditional Maori haka and powhiri welcome ritual. Jonah Lomu's coffin was then carried into the stadium by pallbearers, including several former All Blacks.
Lomu's wife Nadene followed, wearing a woven skirt - a traditional Tongan symbol of respect and mourning - accompanied by her two sons.
The tributes were led by World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset, who described Lomu as "a giant of a man (who) leaves a giant space in world rugby".
"He will forever be a big part of rugby's story," he said.
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key recorded a video tribute in Paris, where he is attending the world climate conference.
"He proved that you can come from anywhere in New Zealand, in any background, and make it to the top,'' he said in the message.
Jonah Lomu fought a nearly two-decade battle with kidney illness, which former All Blacks coach John Hart recounted.
"It's frightening to think what he could have done on the field had he not played with such a huge medical handbrake," he said. "He was a fighter until the very end.''
Lomu scored a record 15 tries at Rugby World Cups, eight of them in 1999 - also a record for most tries at a single tournament. Both records were only matched this year.