Weil’s disease likely cause of Olympic rower’s death

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Double Olympic gold medal winning rower, Andy Holmes, who twice partnered Sir Steve Redgrave to triumph, has died suddenly from suspected Weil”s disease.

The athlete, who became a father for the fifth time only a month ago, had recently returned to the water after a
17-year break from the sport. Holmes fell ill last Monday with a fever and in the next two or three days it continued getting worse. By Sunday he was in hospital on a liver ICU life-support machine, when he died.

As pest controllers are well aware, Weil”s disease (also known as Leptospirosis) is a rare but potentially fatal water-borne bacterial infection commonly linked with the urine of infected rats. It is a rare disease in Britain, but does kill one or two people every year. It is carried by water organisms, so those taking part in water sports are at particular risk, but it can also be carried by animals.

There are 40-50 cases a year in Britain but it is much more widespread in warmer climates and stagnant water is best avoided. In the early stages it can be mistaken for flu but can develop into jaundice, kidney and liver failure.

Sir Steve Redgrave paid tribute to his former partner, who had been awarded the MBE in 1989 after a glittering career at the top of the rowing world.
The five times Olympic gold medallist said: ”Having shared some memorable and emotional experiences with Andy, I am extremely sad to hear the news.’


Andy Holmes Redgrave and Holmes clinch gold at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 1986 

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