According to multiple reports, former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen has died.
The 45-year-old former Blue Bulls rugby player lost his battle with motor neuron disease this afternoon (6 February), an ailment he has been fighting since 2011.
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According to Sport24, who broke the story, Blue Bulls CEO Barend van Graan confirmed van der Westhuizen’s passing Monday afternoon.
“If there’s one thing we can learn from Joost it was his passion for life. That we will never forget,” Sport24 quotes van Graan as saying.
This was later confirmed by the J9 Foundation.
He has been described by peers and fans as a champion, legend, and by his own J9 Foundation staff as “superman”.
A photo posted by Joost-J9foundation (@j9foundation) on
Joost was rushed to hospital this weekend, with his condition described as critical by the J9 Foundation. The latest update suggested that his condition was improving, but however remained critical.
Although earlier fake reports suggested that Joost had died Saturday, it seems that today was the rugby legend’s final day.
He was capped for the Springboks 89 times, winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup as well as two Currie Cup trophies with the Blue Bulls. He retired from rugby in 2003.
#RIPJoost: Twitter pays its respects
In tribute of van der Westhuizen, Twitter was a flood with messages of condolences for Joost’s loved ones. As a result, #RIPJoost began trending around 2pm SAST:
— Brand South Africa (@Brand_SA) February 6, 2017
— Thabo Moroke (@thabo_moroke) February 6, 2017
You fought a very brave battle, RIP #joostvanderwesthuizen
— Leanne Hartwig (@blondybug) February 6, 2017
Joost van der Westhuizen is survived by his two children and singer-songwriter wife Amor Vittone.