Trek4Mandela’s team doctor expected Gugu Zulu to recover

The racing car driver had complained about having a scratchy throat before the expedition.

FILE: Gugu Zulu. Picture: @GuguZulu.

JOHANNESBURG - The doctor who accompanied the Trek4Mandela team up Mount Kilamanjaro says she expected Gugu Zulu to start feeling better once he had descended from the mountain.

During an emotional press briefing held at OR Tambo International Airport last night, Dr Roxanne Schutte explained how the race car driver was unconscious when she last saw him.

The 38-year-old Zulu died early on Monday morning after experiencing difficulty breathing the night before the summit.

The Trek4Mandela team arrived last night along with their team leader, doctor and members from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Dr Schutte explained that Zulu had complained about a scratchy throat before the expedition.

He then had flu-like symptoms and low energy levels which she says is common for climbers at that altitude, but he said he was prepared to continue.

WATCH: Emotional Trek4Mandela team recount the day Gugu Zulu died

Schutte says on Sunday night his condition worsened.

"He was unconscious and I said we had to get him to a hospital as soon as possible. He was in a critical condition but stable. My expectation was that if we get him down he would start feeling better. That is what happens with altitude, as soon as you go down, you immediately start feeling better."

Zulu's body will arrive back in the country by Friday and a memorial service will be held at the Kyalami race track next week.

Click here to view an interactive map on Gugu Zulu's journey at Mount Kilimanjaro.