Sir Brian Lochore, one of the greatest players to wear the All Blacks jersey and the 1987 Rugby World Cup-winning coach, has died.
The 78-year-old, who played 25 tests (68 matches) for New Zealand at No 8 and lock from 1964 to 1971, died on Saturday after a battle with bowel cancer.
Lochore's wife, Lady Pam and the couple's three children said they were mourning, but relieved his suffering had ended. They wanted to express their gratitude for the care and support the family has received since Lochore's diagnosis.
Eldest son David Lochore said: "We would like to note a special thanks to all the Doctors that have tried so hard and the exceptional care the palliative nurses have shown to our Dad.
"To those from around New Zealand and the world who have sent messages, these have been enjoyed by our Dad and appreciated by us all.
"Our heartfelt gratitude to family and friends who have provided support to us during this time, we thank you for your kindness.
"Dad led a life that was full and one which he was very proud of. Our hearts are breaking at a life we feel still had much to give."
Lochore is survived by Pam, their children David, Joanne and Sandra, and their eight grandchildren.
Details of the funeral service will be made available once they have been finalised.
In June, Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew announced he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.
It was not Lochore's first battle with cancer. In April 2017 he revealed he had beaten two different types of cancer in a year - after being diagnosed with melanoma and prostate cancer during in 2016.
In 1999 he became the second All Black to be knighted, bestowed with the Queen's birthday honour a year after Wilson Whineray. The same year he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame, while in 2006 the Lochore Cup was named after him, presented to the second-tier winner of New Zealand's Heartland Championship competition.
Born in Masterton on September 3, 1940, Lochore was synonymous with the Wairarapa. He made his debut for Wairarapa in 1959 and played all his provincial rugby for the small union.
He remained a towering figure in rugby after his playing days giving more than 50 years of service to New Zealand Rugby.
Date of birth: 3 September 1940
Position: Number 8
Test debut: 4 January 1964 v England, London
Last test: 31 July 1971 v British & Irish Lions, Wellington
Test tries: 2
Test points: 6
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.