All Blacks great Colin Meads diagnosed with cancer

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) " Colin Meads, who is regarded as New Zealand's greatest rugby player, said Thursday he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Meads, who played a then-record 55 tests at lock from 1957-71, was named in 1999 as New Zealand's Rugby Player of the 20th Century.

Meads, 80, has been unwell for the past six months and was recently hospitalized with a kidney ailment.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said Meads is "a true legend of the game and it is with great sadness we hear of the seriousness of his condition."

Meads said in a statement he had received messages of support from around the world, "but for now it's about me fighting this and we want to get on with what we are facing privately, as a family."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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