Jonah Lomu's fans kept in the dark

By Isaac Davison, Vaimoana Tapaleao, Newstalk ZB, APNZ

Jonah Lomu. Photo / Getty Images
Jonah Lomu. Photo / Getty Images

Jonah Lomu and his family are being urged to let his fans know how he is, as reports surface that his boxing regime may have contributed to his current round of ill health.

The rugby legend has been in Auckland Hospital since the weekend, but hospital staff say family have instructed them not to give out any details of his condition, with an exclusive deal reportedly signed with a women's magazine.

Former team mate Kees Meeuws said fans everywhere are being kept in the dark.

"He doesn't need the money so why keep it private for a magazine,'' he told Radio Sport's Tony Veitch. "Just let people know that you're okay mate because we all care about you.''

Meeuws said New Zealand took him for granted, but that Jonah Lomu is a superstar around the world.

Meanwhile, Fairfax Media has reported that his training for the Fight for Life charity boxing event in December may have contributed to his condition.

Unnamed sources told Fairfax Lomu was "in really bad shape".

Lack of information

The lack of information has left everyone, from the Prime Minister to the All Blacks and even close friends, worrying about the rugby legend's condition.

Auckland City Hospital was told by the family not to release any details of his status.

But the New Zealand Woman's Weekly confirmed last night it had signed an exclusive contract with Lomu and his wife, Nadene - a deal one former magazine editor said would be worth more than $10,000.

On Twitter yesterday, some people were not impressed.

Said Nathan Beaumont: "So Jonah's making some money from his kidneys. Hope he gives some to [kidney donor] Grant Kereama." And simonmfox wrote: "Does Lomu deserve all the sympathy now?"

The former All Black was admitted to hospital last week.

Nadene Lomu, who is also her husband's manager, said the family did not wish to comment on his wellbeing, and asked for privacy.

Before hospital officials were banned from giving details, they reported that Lomu's condition was "unpredictable", then clarified that it was "stable".

Former Woman's Weekly editor Wendyl Nissen said an exclusive feature on Lomu would be expensive, as front-cover stories about him regularly sold well.

"He's unusual because men don't usually sell, but he's up there with the most popular people."

An ex-editor of women's magazines who did not want to be named said a front-cover story would fetch more than $10,000.

"He should get that easily ... In his prime, he could have got in excess of $20,000."

Exclusivity contracts are usually revoked if information is revealed in rival publications.

Woman's Weekly editor Sarah Stuart last night confirmed the exclusive arrangement with the Lomus.

But she would not say how much the magazine had paid.

She said it had been a "most stressful" time for the couple, and they were speaking to a news organisation they trusted.

The Auckland District Health Board yesterday said it played no role in the contract.

"The Lomu family has asked that ADHB not release any information about Jonah's care," a statement said. "We have respected their wishes ... The same courtesy would be extended to any of our patients.

"However, ADHB has become aware of the possibility of an exclusive agreement with a magazine. ADHB has had no involvement in any agreement whatsoever."

Messages of support

Lomu has received messages of support from all parts of the country.

The All Blacks, Prime Minister John Key and World Cup officials have expressed concern about his health.

Friends told the Herald they were in the dark about his condition.

Former rugby league player Dean Lonergan, who has enlisted Lomu to compete in the Fight for Life fundraiser in December, said: "I know as much as anybody else, which is nothing. I just hope Jonah's fit and healthy."

The former All Black winger was diagnosed with the kidney disorder nephrotic syndrome in 1995. He had a transplant in 2004, using a kidney donated by Kereama, a radio presenter.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 22 Oct 2014 11:17:41 Processing Time: 563ms