Norm Berryman left a distinctive mark on New Zealand rugby.
His barmstorming running, allied to deceptive footwork in such a big man, helped, but it was more about the manner of his game which distinguished him as one of the country's genuine sporting characters.
'Stormin Norman', who died of a suspected heart attack overnight at 42, played his rugby with a grin, in a way few have matched.
Not for him the po-faced approach of so many rugby players in the modern game.
Indeed you wonder what he would have made of the modern, prescribed game, where spontaneity can be met with a frown from the coaching box.
Berryman loved the game for what it was, and few have matched him for the transparency with which he displayed that affection.
The mind easily drifts back to winter nights in Whangarei, where folk hero barely does justice to the respect in which he was held as he charged about in his cambridge blue jersey for Northland over 11 seasons.
When Berryman would gather a high kick, rumble forward before launching the ball skywards, the crowd on the grass bank would let rip with a giant roar of delight.
After the final whistle, he would invariably be the last player into the tunnel, so busy was he signing autographs. A Pied Piper figure to the hordes of young fans? With bells on.
But where others would run solemnly back to the dressing room after pre-match warmups, their mind on what lay ahead, Berryman could be seen grinning and waving, or exchanging a few words with fans as he made his way off to get ready.
That he played just one test against South Africa in 1998, while partly down to the quality of rivals for his position, probably also to a degree lay in differing philosophical outlooks.
The story is told of Berryman deciding the All Black regime of the time wasn't to his liking, so he hitch hiked his way back up north. From there, there would be no way back.
Lest there be an idea that Berryman was more personality than player, let's bury that. He could bust tackles with the best, and the fact he was part of three Super Rugby winning Crusaders teams makes plain that he could play.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, a former team mate, used the word "infectious" to describe Berryman. He also acknowledged he could be uncoachable, in the nicest way. Both elements are easy to appreciate.
Berryman's ability to interact with crowds remains locked in the mind. He could find fun in the grimmest of situations.
And that's why he was so popular, wherever he went.
And that's why he'll be mourned around the country. Dead at 42. Far too young for a happy, free spirit.