Rugby superstar Jonah Lomu has revealed how close he came to dying just days after he played a leading role at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The former All Blacks winger, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2004, was admitted to hospital during the tournament when it began to fail.
In his updated autobiography, Jonah: My Story, Lomu discloses he began feeling unwell hours after stepping onto Eden Park to launch the tournament that the All Blacks went on to win.
“It started out as a wonderful evening, but as the night wore on I started to feel unwell. By the time I got home I was in a bad way.
“Over the next few hours I got worse. I couldn’t keep anything down,” the 38-year-old writes.
When his condition deteriorated days later he was taken by ambulance to hospital where doctors told him he was very sick.
“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.”
His doctor, John Mayhew, said things got dicey.
“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.”
Lomu is now undergoing dialysis as he waits for a second transplant.
He shot to fame in the 1995 World Cup when he trampled over England in a four-try performance in the semi-final.
It was same year that he was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome.
The book, on sale from Tuesday, also covers the breakdown in the relationship between himself and manager Phil Kingsley Jones over a story sold to a women’s magazine.
He played 63 Tests in an international career which stretched from 1994-2002, scoring 37 tries.