Rugby great Jonah Lomu was effectively broke when he died suddenly last month, it has been revealed.
The news has come to light as a trust fund is established for his two sons by friends concerned the family doesn’t have enough money to support them.
New Zealand Rugby Players Association has launched the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust, to provide for Dhyreille, 6, and Brayley, 5, following Lomu’s death aged 40 last month.
Chief executive Rob Nichol said it was formed after close friends realised the family’s financial situation was not good.
“While the probate of the estate will take some time, we know enough to realise that the family will not be able to rely on any financial proceeds or ongoing financial benefit,” he said.
Mr Nichol said its own advisers had dealt with those helping the family to assess their financial situation.
He said it appeared that because of Jonah’s well-known generosity, he had taken on obligations, financial and otherwise, to support others at the expense of himself, wife Nadene and the children.
“It is also apparent that his 20-year illness and long dialysis sessions, multiple times a week affected him far more than people realised, including his ability to work and earn the type of money people probably assumed he was capable of earning.”
The trust, not set up at the request of the family, will solely benefit Lomu’s two boys, providing the education and pastoral care that Lomu would have wanted for them.
The association is urging the public to get behind the cause and donate to the trust.
Former All Black Michael Jones, one of four trustees, said it was time to give back to Lomu, who did a lot to promote the All Black brand to the world.
“He superseded anything we had seen before, and it is unlikely we will ever see the likes of again,” Jones said.
“He was an absolute rugby phenomenon.”
Donations can be made at www.jonahlomulegacy.com