Rugby legend Jonah Lomu has passed away in Auckland at the age of 40.

Former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew has confirmed that Lomu died unexpectedly this morning.

The All Blacks legend was suffering from a rare kidney disorder known as nephrotic syndrome, which first made itself apparent while Lomu was making a name for himself at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Lomu had a kidney transplant in 2004, but his body eventually rejected the replacement organ in 2011.

Lomu made 73 appearances for the All Blacks, debuting against France in Christchurch in 1994 and going on to score 43 tries for his nation, before he was forced to retire as a result of his kidney disorder in 2002.

Lomu had recently been touring the UK with his family as a spokesman for Heineken during the Rugby World Cup. He had been receiving dialysis treatment during the visit.

“By the end of it I’ll have learnt the ins and outs of every clinic in the country,” he told the London Telegraph.

“I am thankful that I have a beautiful wife and the kids are here. Nadine makes sure that my family stays together. She is my manager, my wife, my best friend and my boss!”

In September, Lomu spoke of his pride at being able to perform the haka in front of his sons with members of the Ngati Ranana Maori Club in Covent Garden in September.

“I didn’t think I would perform the haka again,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“My two sons have never seen me do the haka before and this has brought it to life for me. It is something special for them as previously they have only seen videos of me doing it.”

In the same interview, Lomu said he was looking forward to seeing his sons — five-year-old Dhyreille and six-year-old Brayley — grow up.

“I do want to see them grow into grown men,” he said.

“Whether they play rugby or not doesn’t matter. I just want them to be healthy and to grow. One thing as a dad you don’t want is for them to come to any harm or anything bad to happen to them.

“The illness and pains I’m going through, I don’t want them to experience that. No dad wants that.”

Tributes to Lomu, led by New Zealand prime minister John Key, have come flooding in from around the globe.