(CNN)The rugby world is paying tribute to Andy Haden, the former All Blacks captain who passed away on Wednesday aged 69.

Haden played 117 games for New Zealand between 1972 and 1985, including 41 test matches. He captained the All Blacks on eight occasions.

Former All Black Andy Haden has sadly passed away at the age of 69. With 117 games including 41 Tests, Andy was one of the true greats of our game. Rest In Peace 🖤 pic.twitter.com/WZOTH7x6vo

— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 29, 2020 “Andy’s stature and influence as a player was huge,” New Zealand Rugby President Bill Osborne told the governing body’s website. He played alongside Hayden for the All Blacks”Not only was he an immense physical presence, there was also immense respect from his teammates.”Most people will remember the way he dominated the lineout as a tower of strength, but I also remember the way he looked after the young players coming into the All Blacks, and how he advocated for players’ rights both during and after his playing career.Read More”Our thoughts are with his wife Trecha and his family.”Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, videos and featuresHaden, who had been suffering from cancer, died surrounded by his family, according to an announcement from New Zealand Rugby.”He was a true great of NZ rugby & I was fortunate to play five tests against him,” World Rugby chairman and former England captain Bill Beaumont wrote on Twitter.”Tough competitor. My condolances (sic) go to his family & the NZ rugby community at this difficult time.”

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