The family of 60-year-old Corrie le Grange, who picked up an excessive amount of weight believed to be from a medical condition called Ascites, was unable to be with him when he passed away during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Le Grange was rushed into the intensive care unit at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, where he was being treated for the last 13 days.
Shammy Rademeyer, who had been with Le Grange for 33 years, spoke to Health24 over the phone from her Edenvale home.
'I love you'
"'I love you.' Those were his last words to me on Monday afternoon", she said.
She then wept as she recalls how she had vowed to bring Le Grange home. "I broke my promise to him."
A distraught Rademeyer said that before his struggle with Ascites, Le Grange was generally a healthy person. "He hardly ever got a cold. I think he had a cold twice since I have known him."
Le Grange weight returned to normal
Patients suffering from Ascites typically put on a lot of weight over a short period of time. Le Grange was no exception.
But, said Rademeyer, "by the time he died all that weight he gained was gone. He was his normal weight of about 203kg again."
She said details of the funeral of the businessman still needed to be confirmed, but he would be cremated as soon as possible.
Le Grange was admitted to the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital after he was turned away by a number of state and private hospitals.
The Gauteng Department of Health extended their condolences to the family and friends of La Grange on Tuesday morning.
It said hospital staff had worked hard to give him a new chance at life.
"He had complications that saw him being returned to ICU where he passed on", Chris Maxon from the department told Health24.
What is Ascites
Dr Estelle Wilken, senior lecturer and consultant at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, told Health24 that Ascites is an abnormal collection of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity.
"The fluid can safely be removed via a needle attached to a draining tube, and several litres can be removed this way".
She explained that the most common causes are portal hypertension, defined as high pressures in the vein that carries blood from the abdominal organs to the liver.
She described the symptoms. “The abdomen grows larger in a short span of time. The excess pressure in the abdomen compromises breathing. One can develop heart failure, the legs swell grossly. Most people also develop an umbilical hernia."
Ascites can also disappear after treatment with specific water tablets and a low salt diet, said Wilken.