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Rugby legend in 'critical condition' in hospital

07 February, 2017, 01:22 | Author: Abraham Jackson
  • Joost van der Westhuizen dead: South African rugby legend loses battle with MND aged 45

He was the record holder for the most Test tries for the Springboks for more than 13 years and finished his worldwide career with 38 Test tries.

Others lauded Joost's fighting spirit, citing previous reports that the rugby player would likely succomb to ALS in 2016.

The J9 foundation confirmed his death on their Facebook page.

"Having coached against him when he played for the Bulls, they were a completely different team with him playing and he will be sorely missed".

Singer Amor Vittone, Van Der Westhuizen's wife, in a touching message, said that he would always be her first love. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends". You are up in heaven without any pain. "A player like that was someone you could never underestimate, was always unsafe".

Van der Westhuizen set up the charity after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011.

In 2015, a fragile van der Westhuizen joined fellow 1995 World Cup champions at Ellis Park Stadium for an event to commemorate 20 years of the team's historic victory.

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The former South Africa scrum-half had been in critical condition at hospital over the weekend and passed away on Monday afternoon (6 February).

Pieter thanked the public for supporting the family in their time of need.

On Saturday, another statement from the foundation called for prayers for Van der Westhuizen, who is regarded as one of the finest scrum-halves in rugby history.

"He was a modern day half-back even back then - big and fast, he could control a game. South Africa is poorer without this great giant and warrior of South African rugby".

Eight months before South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Springbok rugby was in shambles. but on the 1994 end-of-year tour to Europe, Van der Westhuizen announced himself on the world stage.

Van der Westhuizen played in the final despite breaking a rib in the semifinal final over France. That same year he suffered a heart attack.

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