Former New Zealand rugby star Jerry Collins and his wife Alana Madill have died in a car crash in France.
According to local media reports, Collins was involved in a collision with a bus on a motorway in southern France. Their three-month-old daughter has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.
The 34-year-old, who played 48 tests for the All Blacks and captained his country three times, was playing for French side Narbonne.
Tributes from former teammates and rugby stars have been coming in on social media,
We are shocked and saddened by reports about the accident involving Jerry.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 5, 2015
Former England centre Will Greenwood, who played against Collins, said he was ‘praying’ for their daughter to pull through.
Terribly sad news about Jerry Collins and his wife. Tragic car accident. Pray for their little one to pull through.
— Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood) June 5, 2015
Flanker Collins was recognised for his aggressive defensive style and dominating tackles, and stood in as captain of New Zealand during the 2007 World Cup.
Fellow New Zealander rugby stars shared their shock at the sudden news online.
Struggling to think that its happened.. dont want to believe it!!
— Piri Weepu (@piriweepu) June 5, 2015
Such sad news about Jerry, his wife & baby….
R.I.P Hitman… ????
— Cory Jane (@CoryJane1080) June 5, 2015
Love you uso, May God look after your little one #thehitman
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) June 5, 2015
Former England scrum half called Collins the “Jonah Lomu of the forwards. A rugby inspiration of his time.”
— Matt Dawson (@matt9dawson) June 5, 2015
34-year-old Collins was born in Samoa, but made his debut for New Zealand in 2001. He retired from international rugby in 2008, but continue to play club rugby in both Europe and Japan.
In 2007 the feared New Zealander showed his lighter side, agreeing to play for a Devon amateur side after meeting the team’s coach while on holiday.
Wales captain Sam Warburton called him “an inspiration to many young players growing up including myself”, while Jonah Lomu called Collins “my brother”.
What a huge loss. Inspiration to many young players growing up including myself. RIP Jerry Collins and his wife Alana. Best wishes baby Ayla
— Sam Warburton (@samwarburton_) June 5, 2015
Rest n peace
My brother JC n your lovely lady .
You will be surely missed
Prayers to your little may she
Survive ofa atu colins family.
— JONAH LOMU (@JONAHTALILOMU) June 5, 2015
Collins had signed with French club Narbonne in January this year.