Cape Town - SANZAR Chief Executive, Greg Peters, has issued the following statement in the wake of the tragic news that Jerry Collins and his partner, Alana Madill, have passed away in France.
"Jerry Collins is an undisputed legend of the game for Wellington, the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. He inspired all of those around him with his passion and love for the game throughout a highly decorated career for club and country.
"A complex character who was sometimes misunderstood, Jerry was a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
"Thoughts and prayers go out to both he and Alana's family and especially to their young daughter who is bravely fighting for her life.
"Rest in peace JC, as the rugby world mourns and remembers one of its greats."
Collins had a distinguished career.
He played 48 Tests for the All Blacks between 2001 and 2007, as well as 85 matches for the Hurricanes and 47 for Wellington.
He joined French club Toulon after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and since then represented Welsh club Ospreys (2009-2011) and Japanese club Yamaha Jubilo (2011-2013).
Collins recently signed a contract as a Medical Joker to play in the French ProD2 with Racing Club Narbonne. He was injury cover for Rocky Elsom.