At RWC1995, a young Tongan in a black jersey strode the rugby world like a collossus. Jonah Lomu was the undoubted star of the tournament in South Africa; who will ever forget him steamrolling over Mike Catt to score the opening try of the semi-final thrashing of England?
Just two years later, life dealt Jonah Lomu a cruel blow. He was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, putting a temporary halt to his rugby career. He was again a star at the 1999 RWC in the UK, but then his star began to wane. He received a kidney transplant in July 2004.
Now Lomu is ill again; the Herald reports:
The All Blacks have rallied behind one of their greatest legends, Jonah Lomu, who is in the renal and transplant unit at Auckland City Hospital.
In a sign that his health problems are perhaps more than routine, the All Black World Cup side stopped their training session yesterday to send him a photograph message: "Get well, Jonah. Kia kaha."
Lomu, 36, had a kidney transplant in 2004.
All Black hooker Keven Mealamu said the team wanted Lomu to know they were thinking of him.
"We just want him to get better. He's been a big part of the All Blacks in the past and probably a big part of what they are today, so it's just a nice message from the boys hoping he gets better quick."
Mealamu said it was sad to see a man like Lomu in his current state.
There's a degree of mystery over the nature and severity of Lomu's current illness, and with each day that passes with no news whilst he remains hospitalised, it's hard not to wonder whether this is a serious relapse for the big guy.
Our thoughts, our prayers and our aroha are with Jonah and his family as he battles this latest setback. We hope that he's soon back on his feet again. In the meantime, here's the man himself at his blockbusting best.
Kia kaha Jonah!