WELLINGTON, - All Black great Sir Wilson Whineray has died at the age of 77.
The New Zealand Rugby Union said Whineray passed away early on Monday at Auckland Hospital surrounded by family. He had been in hospital for the past month.
"Today is a very sad day. We have lost one of New Zealand's great heroes and for the rugby community we have lost a much-loved patron and champion of rugby," NZRU chairman Mike Eagle said.
"Regarded as one of the great All Blacks legends, Sir Wilson also made significant contributions to the community through his work with sport, charities and business."
Whineray was 21 when he made his All Blacks Test debut in May 1957 against Australia in Sydney.
The following year at the age of 23 he became the All Blacks' youngest captain in a Test series against Australia.
He played 77 All Blacks matches including 32 Tests, and he captained the side 67 times.
Whineray, who mostly played prop but also as a loose forward, retired from rugby in 1966 and after studying for an MBA at Harvard University he pursed a successful business career.