The family of Andy Haden have set up a Givealittle page in support of the nursing staff who have been "a tower of strength" in the All Blacks great's long battle with cancer.
Haden, who first revealed his diagnosis in 2003, died this morning after suffering a relapse and being sent home for palliative care last week.
His family asked for donations to be made to the medical staff who cared for the 41-test All Black-turned-talent agent in his final days.
"In lieu of flowers, we'd ask for donations to be made to support the nurses at the Motutapu Ward at Auckland hospital," they said in a statement.
"They have been a tower of strength for our whole family over the last 6 months."
In the statement, Haden's family said the 69-year-old passed away in Auckland surrounded by friends and family.
"As sure as the sun rises, the last email update I sent about Andy was going to be followed by this one," the statement, issued in a newsletter to members of the Titirangi Golf Club where Haden had been a member since 1999, said.
"And as the sun rose this morning, Andy succumbed to his disease, passing away surrounded by family and friends.
"The outpouring of love and support for Andy and our family over the past six months, and more specifically the last two weeks since his terminal diagnosis has been overwhelming and heart warming.
"We have received such an incredible wave of messages, phone calls and visitors that we were incredibly fortunate to be able to share with Andy in his last days.
"We all, including Andy, found a lot of joy in those moments."
The family confirmed a memorial service will be held for Haden at Eden Park at 1.30pm on Monday.
Haden is survived by his wife Trecha and children Christopher and Laura.