WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Legendary All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu died almost penniless, according to the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association which has established a trust to provide for his two young sons.
Association chief executive Rob Nichol said once Lomu's complex finances had been disentangled "there's not going to be any great windfall. There's no great savings there. There's certainly nothing that's going to sustain any ongoing financial benefit for the family."
Nichol 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."
In an interview Monday, Nichol said the Association had been aware for some time that Lomu's financial position "may not have been great." It was for that reason business people and friends of Lomu had worked with the Association to establish a charitable trust to help provide for his sons Dhyreille, 6, and Brayley, 5.
Lomu, who died last month aged 40, battled a serious kidney ailment for 20 years, undergoing a transplant in 2004. Nichol said Lomu's health had impacted on his earning ability in his years since his retirement from rugby.
"People have presumed or assumed that he has been able to earn quite good money over the last 10 to 15 years but his illness and the treatment he has had to go through have severely hindered his ability to do that," Nichol said.
He said Lomu's finances had also suffered because of his generosity to others.
"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," Nichol said. "He's clearly taken on obligations, financial or otherwise, on behalf of others and that has definitely been at the expense of his family.
"Whether it's family or others close to him, whether it's financial or other kinds of obligations -- at the expense of himself, (wife) 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."
Nichol said Lomu's "optimistic" nature might also have encouraged him to believe he could remedy an increasingly precarious financial situation. But his sudden death had prevented that, leaving little to provide for his sons.
"You're talking about a guy who would expect to be here right now," he said. "He was 40 years old when he passed.
"He didn't expect to pass. Despite his illness he's a pretty optimistic character. He backed himself to continue working, meet his obligations, take care of the people he needed to take care of, but he can't do that now."
The Association has helped establish the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust which would seek donations to provide for Lomu's family.