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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019
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South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen dies aged 45

The World Cup-winning Springbok scrum-half had been battling motor neurone disease since 2011.

Van der Westhuizen meeting Ireland's Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony, Les Kiss, Mike Ross and Tommy Bowe at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel in 2014.
Van der Westhuizen meeting Ireland's Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony, Les Kiss, Mike Ross and Tommy Bowe at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel in 2014.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY legend Joost van der Westhuizen has passed away after a battle with motor neurone disease.

The 45-year-old was rushed to hospital in a critical condition on Saturday and his own JD Foundation confirmed the sad news this afternoon.

It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Joost,” read a short statement on Facebook. “He passed away in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He will be sorely missed xx.”

The former scrum-half, a Springboks captain who won the 1995 World Cup, was diagnosed with the condition in 2011.

Rugby Union - Autumn International - Scotland v South Africa - Murrayfield, Edinburgh In action for the Springboks in 1994. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Van der Westhuizen scored 38 Test tries in 89 appearances in the green and gold by the time he retired in 2003.

The iconic rugby player set up the J9 Foundation to promote awareness around motor neurone disease.

© AFP 2017

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