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Jonah Lomu says World Cup duties almost killed him

Jonah Lomu says he almost died during 2011 World Cup as kidney problems returned

Jonah Lomu says World Cup duties almost killed him

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Former All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu says he almost died during the 2011 World Cup when his body began to reject the kidney he received in a transplant operation seven years earlier.

In an updated version of his biography released this week, the 38-year-old Lomu said his health deteriorated severely when he took on too many duties as a rugby ambassador during the world tournament in New Zealand.

Lomu said he began to feel unwell while attending a function hosted by the Tongan team after the first match of the tournament. Though he became weak and began to lose weight, he tried to maintain a busy schedule throughout the Cup.

He was eventually rushed to a hospital, where doctors found elevated levels of creatinine -- an indication his kidney was not properly functioning.

"The creatinine tests -- where they measure how well your kidneys are working -- were through the roof," Lomu said. "My bloodstream was septic and the doctors were starting to think the worst: that my kidney had failed and my body was in total meltdown."

"It was hard to take in. Seven years had passed since the transplant and I had always known that this day would eventually come," he said. "Now, I was going to have to prepare myself for (dialysis) machine time again."

Lomu's long-term physician, former All Blacks doctor John Mayhew, said that "for a while there, Jonah was an extremely sick man."

"There was a distinct possibility he could have died as a result of serious renal failure," Mayhew said.

Lomu's health has now stabilized and he is awaiting a second kidney transplant.

Updated : 2021-06-16 23:04 GMT+08:00