Lomu service to be held in Eden Park

9:11 pm on 23 November 2015

A public memorial service for Jonah Lomu will be held next Monday in Eden Park in Auckland.

Jonah Lomu in 2002

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu - pictured in 2002. Photo: AFP

The former All Black died suddenly last week at the age of 40, from what former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew said was "most likely" to have been a flight-related blood clot.

The service will be held from 1pm to 3pm, Prime Minister John Key said.

It will be open to everyone who wanted to remember the significant contribution Lomu had made - not only to rugby but to the wider community through his work with charities such as UNICEF and Kidney Kids New Zealand, Mr Key said.

"Jonah was much loved, there will be a huge amount of people who will want to come along and pay tribute to him."

Lomu family spokesperson John Hart said Eden Park was an appropriate venue.

"We want to invite all the public; we want a big crowd to come to Eden Park. We've chosen Eden Park because it's the spiritual home of rugby and somewhere Jonah loved so much."

Tens of thousands of New Zealanders are expected to attend the event at Eden Park.

An earlier service will also be held at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau on Saturday, which will allow Pasifika people to pay their respects traditionally.

Hundreds of people from the local Pacific community gathered last night to mourn Lomu at the Lotofale'ia Methodist Church in Mangere, where he grew up. It was the first public memorial for the former All Black.

Mr Hart said up to 40 past and present All Blacks players and coaches also went to Lomu's home in Epsom last night.

Blood clot 'most likely cause'

Dr Mayhew, who was a close friend of Lomu, told the BBC he thought a flight-related blood clot was the most likely cause of death.

"The most likely cause is a pulmonary embolus - or clot to the lung - which can complicate long-distance travel.

"Jonah was at that greater risk of that happening because of his renal condition," he said.

"The other possibility is a cardiac death but on the balance of probabilities I think it was probably a massive clot to the lungs."

It was a tragic complication that could occur in people with chronic health conditions, he said.

"I think it was an instantaneous death... I think he was unaware of what had happened."

Lomu, who had suffered from kidney problems since 1995 and received a transplant in 2004, died in his home last Tuesday night shortly after a flight from Dubai.

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