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.