Sir Colin Meads has written to the people of New Zealand to thank them for the outpouring of good wishes as he battles pancreatic cancer.
The legendary All Black lock's response follows the unveiling of a new statue in his honour in Te Kuiti last month.
Meads, 81, was diagnosed last August after entering hospital with a kidney infection. He has since received hundreds of cards, emails, texts and phone calls from people here and overseas, wishing him well and offering advice.
"I am unable to answer them all personally, so please know that they are wonderful to receive and your best wishes are greatly appreciated by me and my family," he wrote in a letter to the Herald.
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"I am fighting to the best of my ability and will keep on doing so."
Meads, known by the nickname "Pinetree", played 55 test matches for New Zealand. He is considered one of the greatest rugby players in history.
Despite his ill health, Meads attended the unveiling of a bronze statue of him in his home town of Te Kuiti last month - an honour he described as "humbling".
His wife Verna and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as brother Stan Meads, a fellow All Black, were all there to see the 2.9m-high statue unveiled on June 19.
He said Auckland artist Natalie Stamilla had created "an excellent likeness" although he wasn't sure how she had managed it.
"Thank you for thinking I was worthy of such a tribute - it is indeed very humbling."