Late All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu died almost broke, it has emerged.
An independent trust has been set up to help provide for Lomu’s two young boys after the 40-year-old died last month after a long battle with kidney issues.
The Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust has been set up by the NZ Rugby Players Association whose chief executive Rob Nichol described it as a response by business people and friends of Lomu to recognise the need to support his children Dhyreille, 6, and Brayley, 5.
The Trust excludes the boys’ mother, Nadene, Lomu’s third wife, as a beneficiary or from having control of any other funds, but she will be able to apply for to the trust for money to help raise their sons.
Nicol told Newstalk ZB Lomu’s income didn’t match the public’s expectations from his career earnings on and off the field.
“There’s not going to be any great windfall. There’s not great savings there. There’s certainly nothing that’s going to sustain any ongoing financial benefit for the family,” Nicol said.
“What we’ve seen is a statement of where it’s at. And it’s not there, assets and liabilities-wise. Our assessment is the family aren’t going to be able to rely on any financial proceeds or ongoing benefits.”
He said the outcome is no real surprise.
“We’ve kind of known for a little while that things may not have been great.”
Nicol said there would be questions about where Lomu’s earning as gone, but that the rugby legend was a victim of his own generosity.
“When you look at where he’s got to financially and why he’s got there, his generosity was obviously a massive part of it. He has definitely taken on obligations of others – whether it’s family or others close to him, whether it’s financial or other kinds of obligations – at the expense of himself, Nadene and the boys.
“The guy was a proud man and the concept of being a burden on others or coming and asking for help, even though people wanted to help, it just isn’t really him. He was more about helping other people.
“There was an obligation on him to be the one who helped others as opposed to being the one reaching out for help.”
Lomu’s illnesses, including the need for dialysis, impacted his earning abilities.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Donations can be made to jonahlomulegacy.com, through any branch of the ASB Bank or by online banking to the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust, account number 12-3647-0022925-00.