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Monday Feb 6, 2017

Legendary scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen passes away

Legendary scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen passes away

Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen has lost his lengthy battle with motor neuron disease. The World Cup winner passed away on Monday afternoon after having been rushed to hospital in critical condition on Saturday. He is survived by two children, and was 45-years-old.

Van der Westhuizen had been suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a form of Motor Neuron Disease (MND) for the last six years.

“Joost will be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation, but of all time,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby. 

“As a player, he lifted the Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations and Currie Cup while establishing himself as one of the best scrumhalves world rugby has ever seen. He was the record holder for the most Test tries for the Springboks for more than 13 years and finished his international career with 38 Test tries.

“He also became an inspiration and hero to many fellow sufferers of this terrible disease as well as to those unaffected. We all marvelled at his bravery, his fortitude and his uncomplaining acceptance of this terrible burden.

“It’s a sad day for rugby in South Africa and across the globe as we say goodbye to a legend of the Springboks. Our condolences go to his family and friends at this sad, sad time.”

Despite his deterioting health and extreme difficulties in recent years, Joost made it his personal mission to improve conditions, support and facilities for other sufferers out there. He did this through his J9 foundation, who have stated that they will continue the fight.

Joost leaves behind two children, thirteen year old Jordan and ten year old Kylie.

In 2009 we featured this fantastic video tribute to Joost, so have included it here again today.

May the great man, who inspired countless young rugby players around the globe, rest in peace.


  • drg
    6:26 PM 10/02/2017

    ...and Nelson Mandela..

  • rugbydump
    5:40 PM 10/02/2017

    Three, plus the Springbok coach. Very sad.

  • larry
    2:41 PM 09/02/2017

    Two players from that '95 final no longer with us. They're gone way before they should have.

  • jimmy23
    10:50 PM 07/02/2017

    Regardless of how bad his condition got, his sprits always remained high. A fighter till the end. RIP Joost.

  • drg
    7:08 PM 06/02/2017

    Awful news. Very sorry to hear it. RIP Joost, thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

  • guy
    4:23 PM 06/02/2017

    A joy to watch on the field, an absolute inspiration in his final battle. A bit surreal to realize that both giants in that iconic picture above this article have left us. I can honestly say I feel sad.

  • danknapp
    4:02 PM 06/02/2017

    What the guy did on the field was impressive. What he did in his last few years of life to raise the profile of his condition and to try to pursue better treatments, that was another level. A life well lived, now rest in peace.

  • spencah
    3:58 PM 06/02/2017

    Words words words....there are none

  • colombes
    3:37 PM 06/02/2017

    The father of the modern 9's Devastating news.

  • katman
    3:25 PM 06/02/2017

    We'll never see a scrummie like Joost again. He had it all. RIP big fella. You made this game better.


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