New Zealand Rugby is mourning the loss of one of the most respected and iconic figures of the game, former All Blacks Captain, All Blacks Selector and All Blacks Coach, Sir Brian Lochore, who passed away earlier today, aged 78.
Lochore, All Black #637, represented New Zealand in the black jersey on 68 occasions, including 25 Tests. He was the All Blacks Captain in 1966 and went on to lead the team in 18 Tests.
Sir Brian’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 Sir Brian’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.”
Sir Brian is survived by Pam, their children David, Joanne and Sandra, and their eight grandchildren.
The Lochore family has requested privacy at this time and they have asked the media to respect this. Details of the funeral service will be made available once they have been finalised.
In 1985-87 Lochore become the All Blacks coach, with his crowning achievement winning the 1987 inaugural Rugby World Cup.
He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport and the community and also inducted to the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1999. On Waitangi Day in 2007, he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Sir Brian passed away surrounded by family.
“It is with great sadness and grief that we announce that Sir Brian succumbed to his battle with cancer, earlier today. We have lost a genuine legend of our country, an unwavering figure on the field, and a highly respected figure off it. His family has lost a devoted husband, father and grandfather and for many of us, a great friend.
“It is not over-stating the facts to say that Sir Brian Lochore, was the saviour of New Zealand rugby on several occasions and many of us have lost a great mate. Our hearts go out to Pam and their children.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand’s tallest kauri has fallen.
“Sir Brian Lochore is one of of the most respected men in New Zealand, not only in rugby but all facets of New Zealand life, as well as being hugely respected and held in high regard around the world.
“On behalf of the All Blacks and myself personally, we pass on our deepest sympathies to Pam, their kids David, Joanne and Sandra and the wider Lochore family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Arohanui from us all.”
All Blacks Captain Kieran Read said: “This is an incredibly sad day. Sir Brian was an icon of our game. On behalf of all players, our thoughts go out to his family at this time.”
Outside of rugby he contributed to many organisations including his role as Chair of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Chair of the Commission at Kuranui College through challenging times, served on the Hilary Commission (becoming Chair in 1999) and the Sports Foundation and he was very well respected in the farming community.
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