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Jonah Lomu's death likely 'instantaneous', from blood clot on lung, says friend Dr Mayhew

Former All Blacks medic John Mayhew has told the BBC that Jonah Lomu's flight home from the UK probably contributed to his death, but that the big winger would have felt little pain.

Hepi Lomu was comforted by loved ones after hearing tributes read by John Hart. Source: 1 NEWS

Mayhew, who was a long-time friend of Lomu and helped treat and keep Lomu's kidney condition secret during the early years of his disease in mid-1990s, told BBC 5 Lomu probably died as a result of a blood clot on a lung.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Fleetwood Mac sang for Jonah Lomu last night. Source: 1 NEWS

"He returned from the UK via Dubai and appeared to be in good health before he died," said Mayhew, speaking on BBC Five Live last night (NZT).

"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 other possibility is a cardiac death but on the balance of probabilities it was probably a massive clot on the lung."

Jonah Lomu breaks down in interview with the late Paul Holmes. Source: 1 NEWS

Lomu died in the early hours of Wednesday morning (New Zealand time) at the age of 40, having battle nephrotic syndrome, a chronic kidney condition, for years.

Mayhew said Lomu was unlikely to have suffered during his final moments, calling his death "instantaneous".

"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."

Former All Blacks medic John Mayhew has the BBC that Jonah Lomu's flight home from the UK probably contributed to his death.

Lomu died last week of a heart attack at his Auckland home.

Former All Blacks medic John Mayhew has the BBC that Jonah Lomu's flight home from the UK probably contributed to his death.

Lomu died last week of a heart attack at his Auckland home.