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Sir Colin Meads diagnosed with cancer

NZN 10/08/2016

All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after six months of ill health.

The 80-year-old, who was admitted to Waikato Hospital last month over concerns of a kidney illness, says the diagnosis had been tough for his family.

"It's blood hard for Verna, the kids and grandkids. The kids are all close to their mum and each other, and we'll come right together," he said in a statement released by New Zealand Rugby on Thursday.

"Thank you everyone for their concern. But for now, it's about me fighting this, and we want to get on with what we are facing privately, as a family."

He said the support he had received from New Zealand and overseas had been immense.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew says they are supporting Sir Colin and his family through his treatment.

"We knew Sir Colin had been ill for some time however the latest update on his condition is concerning to all of us, but we remain hopeful that Sir Colin's strength and determination will help him through," he said.

Prime Minister John Key on Thursday said the challenge for the country would be giving Sir Colin and his family space, while also lending its support.

"Colin Meads is probably the most iconic New Zealander I can think of. He's a great man. And I think the nation loves him dearly," he said.

"This is a guy that proved he was made of very strong stuff when he was on the rugby pitch and I think he'll prove that as he battles pancreatic cancer.

Sir Colin played 55 tests for the All Blacks in the 1950s, `60s and `70s.

He was one of the most inspiring players New Zealand rugby has known in any position.

Pancreatic cancer has a five year survival rate of less than 10 per cent.

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