Monday 16 September 2019

Long-haul flight 'most likely' explanation for death of Jonah Lomu, says family doctor

Jonah Lomu and the New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka
Jonah Lomu and the New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka
Jonah Lomu hands off England’s Jeremy Guscott and runs on to score his team’s second try at the 1999 Rugby World Cup

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu may have died because of a long-haul flight according to his family doctor.

John Mayhew, a close family friend who treated Lomu's kidney disease, says that a blood clot was the "most likely" explanation for the 40-year-old's untimely death last week

Lomu had just returned to Aukland after watching New Zealand win the rugby World Cup in Britain and endured a gruelling, long-haul flight with a stopover in Dubai.

"He returned from the UK via Dubai and appeared to be in good health before he died," Mayhew told the BBC.

"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."

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Meanwhile, a public memorial service for Jonah Lomu is to be held next Monday in Auckland.

New Zealand prime minister John Key announced on Monday that the service, at the city's Eden Park stadium, would be open to all. A private funeral for the All Blacks favourite takes place the following day.

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Key wrote on his official website: "Jonah touched people's lives across the country and around the world.

"This service will be open to all members of the public who want to remember the significant contribution Jonah made, not only to rugby here and overseas, but also to the wider community through his work with charities such as UNICEF and Kidney Kids NZ.

"The service will be a celebration of Jonah's life and I expect a large number of people will want to be there."

In addition, an event is planned for Saturday at Auckland's Vodafone Events Centre, allowing Pacific Islanders to pay their respects in their traditional way.

Lomu, born in Auckland to Tongan parents, had suffered from health problems since his retirement from the game in 2002 due to a rare kidney disease.

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