The entire rugby community was sent into shock last week when the news was announced that Jonah Lomu had died suddenly at the age of 40.
Lomu had a long history of kidney problems. He was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome at a young age and was forced to rely on dialysis to support his kidneys. The All Black legend underwent a kidney transplant in 2004 before making a brief return to the game.
When his death was announced last week many were speculating that it was down to a cardiac arrest. However, his doctor and long term friend Dr John Mayhew has said that the cause of death was most likely due to a blood clot on his lung.
He returned from the UK via Dubai and appeared to be in good health before he died. We think the most likely cause was a clot on the lung which can be a complication of long distance travel. Jonah was at greater risk of that happening because of his renal condition.
The former All Blacks doctor also ruled out the possibility of a cardiac arrest.
The other possibility is a cardiac death, but on the balance of probabilities it was probably a massive clot on the lung.
He also added that Lomu's death was so sudden that he would have been unaware of what was happening to him, leaving him to pass away peacefully.
Soon after, we tried to resuscitate him, but he was comfortable and I think it was instantaneous. He was unaware of what had happened. It's just one of those tragic complications that can occur in people with chronic renal conditions.
The doctor went on to add that Lomu was never expected to live a long life due to his condition, but nobody had expected him to die at such a young age.
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