Legendary former Springbok rugby player James Small, who died on Wednesday, was found naked and unconscious in a Bedfordview sex club, according to Rapport.
According to the publication, a source who was at the Life Bedford Gardens Hospital on Tuesday night, for an unrelated issue, said that a woman had rushed in, saying her “client from her club” was in the car.
Nurses reportedly had to get a blanket to cover Small up before taking him from the vehicle.
A witness who did not want to be identified told the publication that a man, who identified himself as an Uber driver and who accompanied the woman inside the hospital, apparently gave a different version, saying Small had been found naked in the woman’s bathroom at her house after she ordered an Uber ride.
The two seemed to argue over who would sign Small’s admission form. The woman then said she would call “Steven”. Another man, believed to be Steven, later arrived at the hospital with Small’s mobile phone, laptop, wallet and notebook. He allegedly signed the admission form. Police had to intervene after they arrived at the hospital after the three people got into some sort of argument, with the man believed to be Steven waving a firearm at one point.
Uber told Rapport it could find no record of a trip to the Life Bedford Gardens hospital in Bedfordview on the night.
The publication said police had tried to unlock Small’s cellphone but had no success. They were able to see notifications that said three amounts of R1000 each had been withdrawn from his bank account that night. A friend of Small’s said he had withdrawn the money.
Another source told Rapport that Small had been at The Harem club in Bedfordview on Tuesday night. The club is owned by Jerome Safi, a known Radovan Krejcir associate and underworld figure in Bedfordview. Rapport said attempts to contact the club’s owner were unsuccessful.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed to the publication on Saturday that a inquest to determine the circumstances surrounding Small’s death was ongoing and that police were awaiting a toxicology report.
News24 contacted the hospital who said a hospital manager would only be available for comment on Monday.
‘Yes, he battled tough times. Who hasn’t?’
A family spokesperson confirmed that 50-year-old Small died of a heart attack, according to Sport24.
Following the completion of the autopsy on Friday afternoon, the cause of death was reported as ‘ischaemic heart disease’, the spokesperson said.
According to Sport24 the family issued a statement on Saturday asking for privacy.
“Given how well-known James was, we understand the media and public interest. The James we know made mistakes. Yes, he battled tough times. Who hasn’t? However, he took responsibility for those mistakes – the many journalists who interviewed him, and all his teammates and friends will attest to this. James’s legacy speaks for itself.
“We will not dignify any other stories or rumours with a response and will not be making any further comment.”
The statement added that police had said no foul play was suspected.
Small’s funeral will be held in Johannesburg at 14:00 on Thursday, July 18. The venue has not been confirmed yet.
At the height of his career, Small was labelled the “bad boy” of South African rugby, according to YOU.
But that all changed when he welcomed his daughter, Ruby, Small told YOU during a 2009 interview. Ruby’s mother is model Christina Storm.
Small had previously admitted beating Christina in the course of their eight-year relationship which ended in 2004.
Small is survived by two daughters.