Sunday, October 2, 2011

Boxing training made rugby legend Jonah Lomu ill...

Jonah Lomu of New Zealand looks for support as...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

All Blacks legendary RWC wing Jonah Lomu hospitalised and extremely ill...


PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax Media 
HOSPITALISED: Sources close to rugby legend Jonah Lomu say he is "in really bad shape".


Jonah Lomu's intense boxing training has contributed to his ill health, it is understood.
He had been training to take part in the Fight for Life charity boxing event in December.

Sources close to the rugby legend said he was "in really bad shape" as he remained in hospital battling complications from his kidney condition.

They said Lomu, 36, is seriously ill and may have had major health complications for longer than the six days he has so far been in the renal unit of the kidney and liver transplant wing of Auckland Hospital.

Lomu's room in the wing is closed and a security guard is posted outside. A close friend said the family had instructed hospital staff to allow only immediate family members into his room.

He added there was a feeling that Lomu's family feared any unrelated visitors would leak details of his condition.

The family have repeatedly declined to comment on his health. Wife Nadene said she did not want to comment "at this stage".

An official Facebook page for Lomu, reportedly administered by Nadene, today thanked fans for their support but still did not comment on his condition. "Thanks to those of you sending well wishes," it says.

Lomu was diagnosed with the debilitating kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome in 1995. He faced a shortened life on dialysis until Wellington radio announcer Grant Kereama gave a kidney in 2004.

The former All Black great appeared in good health when he played a key role in the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony in Auckland on September 9. But just two weeks later – on September 24 – he was taken to hospital.

Prime Minister John Key is scheduled to be in Auckland today and has said he hoped to visit Lomu in hospital soon.

"I was thinking about trying to pop in to see him if I could. Obviously we've very saddened to hear he's unwell," Mr Key said.

As public concern mounts about his condition, fuelled by a lack of information, it was revealed that he has negotiated a deal with a women's magazine.

An Auckland Hospital spokesperson directed queries about his health to a writer at the New Zealand Woman's Weekly "because they're the only ones allowed to know about his condition".

Women's magazines will pay thousands of dollars for exclusive stories, and can withdraw payments if the subject talks to other media outlets.

Former women's magazine editor Wendyl Nissen said she would not be surprised if Lomu chose to sell the latest chapter of his health saga to a magazine, rather than commenting to news outlets about his condition.
He had traditionally signed many magazine deals over the years and "done very well from them".
She said she did not know how much an exclusive interview would be worth but one with Lomu would be at the top end of the pay scale.

"This guy sells magazines, there's no doubting it. He's had a few marriages; he's just a big seller. Women's magazines are about mass market – he appeals to everyone."

The 1.95-metre-tall wing Lomu became a global celebrity after his dazzling performances at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. He will be forever remembered in Britain for steamrolling England fullback Mike Catt in the semifinal, in which he scored four tries.

The All Blacks took time out of their training schedule on Wednesday to send a get-well message to their former teammate.

The team, their coaches and Rugby Union staff spelled out a message with huge letters reading "Get well Jonah. Kia Kaha".

His health problems will also impact on his commercial interests, with a delay on release of an Xbox and PS3 game called Lomu's Rugby Challenge.

Last month he announced he would fight Warriors wing Manu "The Beast" Vatuvei in the boxing ring as part of charity event Fight For Life. The match was set to be held on December 3.
- Fairfax Media 
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