Johan Lomu latest: Former New Zealand team-mate believes creatine use may be behind kidney disease that led to death

Lomu died last November from a heart attack caused by a rare kidney disease that his former New Zealand and Auckland team-mate, Joeli Vidiri, believes may have been caused by the use of creatine

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The Independent Online

A former team-mate of Jonah Lomu believes the late All Black’s death may have been caused by the supplement creatine that was introduced during the 1990s, years before the New Zealand rugby player was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease.

Lomu, who died at the age of 40 in November last year, was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition that affects just three out of 100,000 of the population. The wing required a kidney transplant in 2004, only for his body to reject the new organ seven years later and his fatal heart attack last year is believed to have been linked to the kidney disease.

His former Auckland Blues and New Zealand team-mate, Joeli Vidiri, has now claimed that the use of the legal supplement creatine could be behind the rare kidney disease that he was also diagnosed with.

42-year-old Vidiri, like Lomu, played on the wing and won two caps for the All Blacks, before being diagnosed with the condition in 2001. He underwent a kidney transplant in May last year.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Vidiri said: “We were in our prime and enjoying ourselves, and you ask, ‘why us?’

“It’s a question we can’t answer for sure. Lots of people have been telling me about creatine and it does make you wonder.

Jonah Lomu memorial service

“I would be happy if somebody came through with a study to help with that – and to help the young people who are taking it now.

“We need to know what are the side effects of taking it. I would love to know that because we can advise the young people about the right way to go.”

Creatine is widely available on the supplement market today and used commonly by sportsman and gym users, given it’s a natural substance found in the body that helps grow muscle.

Vidiri admitted that the Auckland side took creatine before and after training and that Lomu continued to use it after being diagnosed with the condition, although he did take less of it due to the other drugs he was required to take on medical advice.


Lomu (left) and Vidiri (right) both represented the Barbarians against England in 2001

Joeli Vidiri was a pallbearer at Jonah Lomu's funeral last November

However, Lomu’s personal GP and All Blacks’ team doctor, Dr John Mayhew, denies that Lomu ever took creatine given his kidney problems.