Wellington - All Blacks great Sir Brian Lochore, who achieved fame both as a player and coach, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer.
He was 78.
Lochore, a lock or No 8, was an iconic figure in New Zealand rugby union, representing the All Blacks 68 times, including 25 Tests, 18 of them as captain between 1963-71.
His captaincy coincided with a golden age for the All Blacks when they didn't lose a Test match between the fourth Test against South Africa in 1965 and the first Test in South Africa in 1970.
Between 1985-87 Lochore was the All Blacks coach, his crowning achievement winning the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.
"We have lost a genuine legend of our country, an unwavering figure on the field, and a highly respected figure off it," said New Zealand rugby chief executive Steve Tew.
"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."
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen added: "It’s with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand's tallest kauri (fir tree) 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."
Lochore is survived by his wife Pam and three children, David, Joanne and Sandra, and their eight grandchildren.