New Zealand has lost a fantastic role model with the death of rugby legend Sir Colin Meads, says former All Black Bryan Williams.
Williams said it wasn't just Sir Colin's rugby feats that made him great, it was everything he did off the field, which included giving generous amounts of time to various causes.
The former All Black played in Sir Colin's final Test for the All Blacks against the Lions in 1971.
Williams said it was a thrill for him to be able to play alongside his hero growing up.
He said that feeling of awe never waned.
"I think it would be fair to say that not only at first but I've always held him in such great awe and esteem that right up till the last time I saw him, I'd still get goosebumps down my spine every time I'm in his company."
He said Sir Colin was a true icon.
"I think all New Zealanders could do with the qualities that Colin Meads possessed. Honest, hard working, never backed down, never gave up, we could all learn from those examples.
"When you've lived a life like he has lived, it's a wonderful example for all how to live such a full and well rounded life. My condolences go out to Lady Verna Meads and the Meads family, it's a sad day."
Williams said Sir Colin's determination to fulfil his duties in the face his illness typified the man.
Sir Colin was the patron of the Rugby Foundation, which supports seriously injured players.
Williams, who is a trustee of the Foundation, said Sir Colin drove from Te Kuiti to Auckland in March this year to attend the AGM.
He said it must have been a gruelling trip but he never showed it.
"We were just amazed that he was able to drive up there by himself and stayed in the hotel overnight and then attended the AGM and spoke at the AGM ...that just typified him."